Floyd, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound right-hander with a 90-plus mph fastball, is "the best we've ever had," said coach Dave Norton. Floyd, a junior and one of three to repeat on the All-Metro first team, led the area in wins, going 12-2. But he also made major contributions with his bat to lead the Gaels into the MIAA A Conference finals. Floyd batted .383 (41-for-107) with seven homers and led his team in RBIS (42) and doubles (11). On the mound, he posted a 1.02 ERA in 82 2/3 innings with 103 strikeouts, 26 walks and gave up just 36 hits with only four (three doubles, one triple) of them for extra bases. This year's numbers ran his two-year career totals to 22-3, 187 strikeouts and 74 hits allowed in 147 2/3 innings. Floyd is the second Gael in three years to be named Player of the Year, the other being Georgia Tech sophomore 3B Mark Teixeira (1998). Both are expected to be No. 1 draft picks in 2001, which would be unique since both reside in Severna Park and were at Mount St. Joseph at the same time. Cited by Baseball America as the only junior named preseason second-team All-American and rated the No. 1 high school pitcher in the nation by the publication for 2001, Floyd has not thrown a no-hitter but has six one-hitters. He has been near automatic in his two seasons. "Everytime he goes out there, we expect him to shut out the other team," said Norton. "When he pitches, we know if we score one run, we have a good chance to win."
Coach of the Year: Rob Limpert, Fallston
Limpert led the Cougars (21-2) to their second appearance in the state tournament and their first state final. Fallston is the first team from Harford County to finish No. 1 in The Sun, and Limpert is the first coach from Harford to be so honored. The Cougars came up short in the Class 3A final, losing by 3-2 to Damascus (21-0), the Washington area's top-ranked team, but it didn't diminish their accomplishments. Limpert's low-key approach and leadership proved to be the keys to guiding a team loaded in talent. "Our kids had a great year because we had great senior leadership, great pitching and we hit," said Limpert, who played high school baseball at Cleveland Hill near Buffalo and attended Oswego State in Buffalo. After going 47-48 overall in his first five seasons at Fallston, Limpert has led the Cougars to an overall 38-5 record over the last two. A 7-3 loss to Bel Air in last year's 3A North region final kept Fallston from making it two straight appearances in the state tournament. The Cougars avenged that loss in this year's region final with a 13-2, five-inning rout of the Bobcats (16-5), the only team to defeat them (3-1) in the regular season. "Beating Bel Air to get into the states made it all the more special," said Limpert, who teaches technology education at Fallston. "That was a grudge match." Limpert is 86-53 in seven seasons.
Phil Akens, Fallston
A likely selection in the first nine rounds of the June 5-6 free-agent amateur draft, the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder will sign professionally or pitch at Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, Fla. Akens, a right-hander with a fastball consistently in the 88- to 92-mph range, went 8-1 with a 1.20 ERA for the top-ranked Cougars. In 56 innings pitched, Akens struck out 79, walked 24 and gave up just 30 hits. His only loss was by 3-2 in the 3A state final to Damascus (21-0), and the latter's coach said Akens was "the best we faced all year."
Josh Banks, Severna Park
Banks, a control specialist with a fastball in the mid to upper 80's, led the Anne Arundel County champion Falcons (19-4) with a 9-0 record and 1.27 ERA. Three of the 6-foot-4 right-hander's wins came over county runner-up and eight-time state champion Arundel. Opponents batted just .178 (37-for-208) against Banks, who led the county in wins and strikeouts (93). He worked 55 1/3 innings, yielding 37 hits and walking only eight. Signed with Florida International University in Miami, Banks could be a late draft pick.
Brian Brewer, Hammond
One of seven first-team All-Metro juniors, Brewer, a power-hitting third baseman, batted .431 (31-for-72) with a metro-area leading 13 homers to give himself 20 in his two-year career. Brewer's 13 homers tied the state public school single-season record set by Kevin Goode of Brunswick in 1999. Brewer hit .530 as a sophomore and gives the No. 10 Bears (18-5) quite a 1-2 punch with teammate Jason Maxey for one more year. Brewer also drove in 41 runs (70 two years), scored 30, had six doubles and 11 walks. His slugging percentage was 1.056, and his on-base percentage was .558 for the 2A region finalists. Brewer also did the job defensively at the hot corner.
Justin Collins, Fallston
Collins' bat, third-base play and 7-1 record as the No. 2 pitcher behind Akens played a prominent role in the Cougars' banner season. The clean-up batter hit .630 with eight homers, 12 doubles, five triples, 40 RBIs, and 35 runs scored. On the mound, Collins posted a 1.07 ERA in 53 innings with 53 strikeouts, 40 hits and 15 walks. Collins' eight homers led the Cougars, who belted 27 as a team. His biggest win on the mound came in the 3A seminfinal by 5-4 over Charles County's LaPlata (19-3. Collins went the distance, scattering six hits and striking out seven for his seventh victory. He is considering offers from Western Carolina, George Mason, George Washington and Indiana.
Derek Dixon, Severna Park
A switch-hitting outfielder with power from both sides of the plate, Dixon led Anne Arundel County in homers two straight seasons (seven each year). An All-County football running back and point guard on the Falcons' basketball team, Dixon batted .329 (23-for-70) but was walked 20 times as teams tried to pitch around him. He led his team in runs scored (27), had five doubles and a triple, and struck out only three times. Dixon, who stole seven bases in eight attempts, had a fielding percentage of .961 in center field with Anne Arundel's most feared arm. He has a baseball scholarship to UNC-Charlotte.
Travis Ezi, Southwestern
The first from his school in at least 25 years named first team All-Metro, Eziis is a pro prospect as an outfielder with 6.3 speed in the 60-yard dash. The 6-foot, 175-pound Ezi set state records for batting average at .711 (37-for-52) and slugging percentage (1.577). He had 12 doubles, six triples and seven homers, giving him 82 total bases. He scored 30 runs and knocked in 28. It's likely he will be taken in the draft, but if he doesn't sign, Ezi will play at Young Harris (Ga.) Community College.
Arin Gelletly, River Hill
Headed for the University of Maryland on a baseball scholarship, this hard-hitting first baseman was one of the main reasons that River Hill (11-11) was the surprise winner of the 3A East region. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Gelletly hit .492 (32-for-65) with eight doubles, five homers, 25 runs scored and 24 RBIs. He has 20 doubles, 10 homers and 51 RBIs in his last two seasons. Gelletly also contributed as a closer with six saves, which are believed to be a state record.
Craig King, Cardinal Gibbons
A junior who has been playing like a senior for two years for the two-time MIAA B Conference champion Crusaders (24-6), the 6-2, 185-pound King contributed in many ways. Playing shortstop, third base, catcher and pitcher -- and all more than adequately this season -- King batted .414 (39-for-94) with a metro-leading 36 stolen bases. He scored 31 runs while driving in 26 and walked 20 times, striking out just twice. King also hit seven doubles, six triples and one homer. Called "a natural athlete" by coach Lou Holcomb, King, who is the football team's quarterback, was 5-1 with four saves and a 3.06 ERA as a pitcher.
Ryan Kyle, Calvert Hall
Kyle, a repeat All-Metro left-hander who emerged as the "Gaels' killer" and big-game pitcher, went 8-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 62 1/3innings. He allowed 36 hits, struck out 80 and walked 28. In two varsity seasons, the 5-11, 170-pound Kyle, who will play for St. John's in New York, was 17-1, the only loss in the firstmeeting with Mount St. Joseph this season. He came back to beat the Gaels twice (career 3-1 vs. Mount St. Joe), including the winners' bracket game in the MIAA A Conference playoffs that jump started the Cardinals to the title for the 11th time under Joe Binder since 1984.
Jason Maxey, Hammond
With one year left to play, this junior catcher has already put up prolific offensive numbers. Maxey batted a power-packed .580 (40-for-69) this season with nine homers, eight doubles and a state public school single-season record 48 RBIs to go with 33 runs scored. The Howard County Player of the Year, Maxey already has 23 career home runs, second all-time only to Brunswick junior Kevin Goode (25) among state public school players. Maxey also owns the state public school mark for RBIs (117). He had percentages of 1.087 for slugging and .697 for on-base. With the gear on, Maxey cut down 17 of 22 would-be base stealers and committed only one error.
Joe Sargent, Mount St. Joseph
An excellent middle infielder and very good hitter, this junior second baseman led the Gaels in batting at .485 (49-for-101). He scored 38 runs and had 33 RBIs, nine doubles, and nine homers. Sargent had a slugging percentage of .842 and an on-base percentage of .576. His play with shortstop Allen Strick gave theMIAA A Conference runner-up Gaels as good an all-around combination a prep team can have up the middle.
Allen Strick, Mount St. Joseph
Considered by scouts to be the metro area's best all-around infielder, Strick completed his fourth varsity season with a .429 batting clip. He had 12 homers (second in metro area, 20 career), eight doubles, 36 RBIs (92 career) and led the Gaels in runs (40). ìWe needed somebody to step right in and succeed Tim Hummel(projected No. 1 draft pick at shortstop) and "we don't expect to skip a beat with Allen," said coach Tony Guzzo of Old Dominion, where Strick is headed on a scholarship. "Right now Allen is like veteran college shortstop defensively."
Brent Weiss, St. Paul's
A chiseled 6-1 and 215 pounds, Weiss is arguably the best pure hitter in the metro area and and is an excellent runner. The junior hit .434 (33-for-77), leading the surprising Crusaders in walks (22), runs (31), RBIs (31), homers (6) and stolen bases (school-record 28). Weiss has also tied the school career record for homers (17) set by '97 grad Justin Singleton (Clemson) and is closing in on several other career records. Limited to outfield play because of a shoulder injury, Weiss hopes to return to catching next season.
Chip Ziegler, Arundel
Anne Arundel County's Player of the Year, the 6-foot, 175-pound Ziegler tied the state season record for shutouts (four) and has five in two seasons, two short of the state career mark. The junior right-hander was 8-2 (both losses to county champion Severna Park) with a county-best 0.75 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3innings. A better than average high school center fielder, Ziegler hit .363, led Anne Arundel in runs (31), tied for the RBI lead with 26 and led his team in stolen bases (13) and homers (six, second in county).
Andre Gardner, Towson
Brent Gossman, Calvert Hall
Brian Perkins, St. Paul's
Steve Swiech, Mount Hebron
Mike Williams, Towson
Ron Pusloskie, Spalding
Chris Moylan, Northeast
Pat Fields, Hammond
Rich Guarnera, North County
Mark Campbell, North Carroll
Justin King, Cardinal Gibbons
Antione Cooksey, Old Mill
Trevor MacMeekin, Dulaney
Mike Santmyer, Calvert Hall
Steve Althoff, Archbishop Curley
Note: The All-Metro baseball teams were selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.