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Top Catonsville/Arbutus Times sports moments in 2020

Catonsville High graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Adam Kolarek and his wife, Melanie, celebrate the first birthday of their son, Hank, with the World Series trophy after his team won the championship.
Catonsville High graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Adam Kolarek and his wife, Melanie, celebrate the first birthday of their son, Hank, with the World Series trophy after his team won the championship. (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

The COVID-19 health nightmare affected people across the entire country in many adverse ways in 2020 and sports in Catonsville and Arbutus were not immune to being infected with change.

Cancellation of spring prep seasons in March before they even started left stands empty and athletes without games to play or daily practices.

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Private school athletics returned in the fall briefly, but when the coronavirus numbers escalated they were shut down again.

The Catonsville/Arbutus Times sports staff looked at the top 10 memorable moments in 2020.

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Adam Kolarek wins World Series

Catonsville High 2007 graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Adam Kolarek works in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers won, 15-3, and went on to win the World Series.
Catonsville High 2007 graduate and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Adam Kolarek works in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers won, 15-3, and went on to win the World Series. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Adam Kolarek, a 2007 graduate of Catonsville High pitched in the World Series and won a championship when the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Ray in six games, in the best of seven series.

Kolarek, a Catonsville native, joined Jeff Nelson as Catonsville High graduates who have won a World Series.

Nelson, a 1984 graduate, won four World Series with the Yankees.

Kolarek, 31, a left-handed reliever, pitched ⅔ of an inning in the fourth game of the World Series and allowed no earned runs in the Dodgers’ 8-7 victory.

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During the regular season, Kolarek was nearly flawless with a 3-0 record with one save and a 0.95 earned run average and 0.79 WHIP in 19 innings.

Spirits West wins Major World slo-pitch tournament

Triple crown softball champion from Spirits West included: Front row: Steve Cox, Dave Kelley, Brian Parker, Jamie Barnett, Scott Finch, Johnny Musotto, Scott Leggett Back Row: Howard Hebb, Dave Lohr, Joe Durso, Ric Kehoe, Mike Dill, Travis White, Desmond Dailey, Tuttie Braitsch, Dave Stagierwald, Stephen Rothgeb, Jay Sigler and Bobby Ross.
Triple crown softball champion from Spirits West included: Front row: Steve Cox, Dave Kelley, Brian Parker, Jamie Barnett, Scott Finch, Johnny Musotto, Scott Leggett Back Row: Howard Hebb, Dave Lohr, Joe Durso, Ric Kehoe, Mike Dill, Travis White, Desmond Dailey, Tuttie Braitsch, Dave Stagierwald, Stephen Rothgeb, Jay Sigler and Bobby Ross. (Photo courtesy of Howard Hebb)

There was no Triple Crown in Thoroughbread Racing this year, but there was on a softball field in Arizona.

The Spirits West softball team, representing Maryland and dotted with about a half-dozen players from the Arbutus/Catonsville area, captured the 40-and-over Major World slo-pitch tournament in late September.

Playing under the name LB/Spirits West/SMC, they defeated Prestige/Elite Sports Orange County (CA), 33-28, to capture the World Masters title.

Spirits West owner Ric Kehoe, a Lansdowne High graduate, was coach of the squad that also won a regional tournament in Carroll County featuring teams from the East Coast in the first leg of its journey to Arizona.

In the second leg of the title tour, they won the U.S. national title game against West Coast squads.

Spirit’s defeated LCB/Prestige Softball (CA) 37-35, to win that crown and advance to the world tournament.

For Spirit’s West, Kehoe noted that middle infielder Dave Kelley was the team MVP throughout the tournament.

“He’s MVP for a reason, he was and will always be the best player in the ball park, period,” Kehoe noted.

Savage sisters to play Division I lacrosse

Lauren Savage, left, orally committed to attend James Madison University and play lacrosse and her sister, Courtney, will play at the University of Pennsylvania. The Catonsville residents are juniors at Maryvale Prep.
Lauren Savage, left, orally committed to attend James Madison University and play lacrosse and her sister, Courtney, will play at the University of Pennsylvania. The Catonsville residents are juniors at Maryvale Prep. (Photo courtesy of Dave Kennedy)

When the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the 2020 lacrosse season for Maryvale Prep, sophomores Courtney and Lauren Savage only hope was to get on the field over the summer with their club team and make an impression for college coaches.

Fortunately, the Catonsville residents got that chance with the Redshirts 2022 squad under coach Dave Kennedy and through live action and video they proved their worth for the next level.

In early Sept., the juniors both committed orally to play lacrosse for Division I schools.

Courtney will play at the University of Pennsylvania and Lauren will continue her lacrosse career at James Madison University.

Youth sports halted, kids still play

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that, effective Tuesday, Nov. 17, Baltimore County organized youth recreational indoor and outdoor sports would be prohibited until further notice because of a spike in the numbers of COVID-19 patients.

That didn’t stop a pair of Catonsville boys soccer teams from taking advantage of the last chance to play.

On Monday night, Nov. 16, two Catonsville Cobras travel soccer teams made sure they gave their players something to remember by holding a season-ending scrimmage under the lights at Catonsville High School.

“We kind of threw it together last minute since everybody’s end-of-the-season tournaments got cancelled,” said Kyle Leahy, coach of the Cobras 12U team, comprised of boys born in 2008.

They were scrimmaging Troy Stevenson’s 13U team with a roster of kids born in 2007.

“That’s all they wanted to do was get out and play,” Leahy said. “I would say the mood was about having fun, there wasn’t a whole lot of direction or coaching, it was get out there and play and have some fun with it and see if we can score some goals against these older boys.”

Hole-in-one and new champion at Rolling Road Golf Club

Matt Spence, second from right poses with wife Amy and sons Vincent, left, and Connor, right. He celebrated Labor Day with a hole-in-one and won Flight 4 on championship Monday.
Matt Spence, second from right poses with wife Amy and sons Vincent, left, and Connor, right. He celebrated Labor Day with a hole-in-one and won Flight 4 on championship Monday. (Photo courtesy of Matt Spence)

Labor Day was a family affair at the Rolling Road Golf Club for Catonsville residents Matt Spence and Andrew Sovero, who each provided unforgettable magic moments on championship day.

Sovero, 25, won his first Men’s Championship Flight, with his dad, Rick, watching every shot.

Rick Sovero, the Rolling Road club president, has won the tournament 10 times.

The younger Sovero, 25, defeated Kevin Grady, a three-time Rolling Road champion, 4 & 2 in the match play 36-hole format.

Andrew Sovero won the men's club championship for the first time at the Rolling Road Golf Club on Labor Day. His father, Rick, has won the club title 10 times.
Andrew Sovero won the men's club championship for the first time at the Rolling Road Golf Club on Labor Day. His father, Rick, has won the club title 10 times. (Photo courtesy of Rick Sovero)

Matt Spence, 38, won the 4th Flight over Ethan Edwards, 6 and 5, and while doing it he made a hole-in-one on the fourth hole.

He jarred it on the 181-yard par three, while leading his match 1-up before the hole.

“It was neat, my wife and kids were watching,” said Spence, who found out at the same time as wife Amy, and sons Vincent, 10, and Connor, 4. “This is my third hole-in-one, but to do it in competition and to do it with them watching was pretty surreal.”

Catonsville Clash softball shines for retiring coach

Pitcher Abby Mitchell and catcher Becca Aldave formed the battery for the Catonsville Clash 16U team that went undefeated and won its final tournament.
Pitcher Abby Mitchell and catcher Becca Aldave formed the battery for the Catonsville Clash 16U team that went undefeated and won its final tournament. (Photo courtesy of Donnie Mitchell)

The Catonsville Clash 16-and-under fast-pitch softball team saved its best performance for last in a summer season shortened to just four tournaments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the final tournament of the season, the 16U Clash went 5-0 and captured the championship against a field of 18U teams.

The grand ending was even more special for coach Donnie Mitchell, who has been head coach of the squad since they were in the 12U age group.

Several of the girls started playing together for John Aldave’s 10U rec all-star team when Mitchell was an assistant.

Mitchell announced before the final tournament that he would not be coaching next year, thus allowing girls to find other teams.

“The bittersweet part of this is I feel like we are definitely at a point where we can go in different directions,” Mitchell said. “We have some really good players that need to play at a higher level and some players that are moderately dedicated to softball. It just became too difficult to keep them all together.”

Jen Gast wins award at UMBC

UMBC junior Jen Gast, left, led the Retrievers in rebounding last season and was named UMBC Comback Athlete of the Year. She played for the Catonsville High state championship team in 2017.
UMBC junior Jen Gast, left, led the Retrievers in rebounding last season and was named UMBC Comback Athlete of the Year. She played for the Catonsville High state championship team in 2017. (Photo by Brian Gonzalez)

At UMBC’s 10th annual Grittys Awards, which was held in a virtual setting on May 4, Jen Gast was named as the female Comeback Athlete of the Year.

After enduring two tough years on the court at UMBC, the Arbutus resident who played on Catonsville High’s state championship basketball team in 2017, had a breakthrough junior year.

She averaged 18.1 minutes per game and played in 27 of 28 games, starting four.

Gast led the team in rebounds per game (7.3), total rebounds (198), offensive rebounds (67), defensive rebounds (131) and blocked shots (19).

Local grapplers shine in postseason

Lansdowne's Jacob Lipscomb, top, controls Catonsville's Ismael Diaz in the 126 weight class during a wrestling match at Catonsville High. Lipscomb made the All-County first team.
Lansdowne's Jacob Lipscomb, top, controls Catonsville's Ismael Diaz in the 126 weight class during a wrestling match at Catonsville High. Lipscomb made the All-County first team. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Lansdowne wrestlers Jacob Lipscomb (126 pounds, 40-3) and Kyree Briscoe (182, 39-4) both won Baltimore County and regional individual titles and each placed sixth at the Maryland state championships.

They were also selected to the All-County first team while Viking teammate Riley Bozeman (113, 32-6) was named to the second team. He was second in the county and regional tournaments and sixth at the state tournament.

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Western Tech’s Alfred Murdock (195, 33-7) was named to the All-County second team. He placed second at the county and regional tournaments and did not place at states.

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Western Tech’s Peter Jauquet (182, 31-11) was an honorable mention All-County pick. He was fourth at counties, first in regionals and didn’t place at states.

Lansdowne's Kyree Briscoe, left, sweeps Catonsville's Ethan Shifflett off his feet. Briscoe made the All-County first team.
Lansdowne's Kyree Briscoe, left, sweeps Catonsville's Ethan Shifflett off his feet. Briscoe made the All-County first team. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Catonsville’s Ewan Hemmis (132, 34-12), who finished his career with 121 victories won one match at states after taking third at regionals and counties.

Western Tech rallies with late comeback

Western Tech's Tiffany Manning (32) takes a shot over Pikesville's Cydney Barnes (12) during the Baltimore County girls basketball championship game.
Western Tech's Tiffany Manning (32) takes a shot over Pikesville's Cydney Barnes (12) during the Baltimore County girls basketball championship game. (Daniel Kucin Jr./Baltimore Sun Media Group)

On Feb. 12, the Western Tech girls basketball team trailed Hereford 46-35 with 5:07 left in the game when the Wolverines closed with a miraculous 17-0 run to pull out a 52-46 victory.

Sydney Stokes gave the Wolverines their first lead, 48-46, with a layup, after an assist by Tiffany Manning (15 points, 5 assists) with 2:45 left in the fourth quarter.

A putback by Dyani Mattar with 1:34 left made it 50-46 and Manning’s two free throws with 11 seconds left capped the scoring.

“We had to dig deep down to pull this out, we lost last year and we knew we couldn’t lose again this year, we are on a streak, we needed to do this for our seniors,” said sophomore Destini Ward, who finished with a team-high 20 points along with seven rebounds, four steals and three assists.

Mount de Sales wins Pink Out game

Mount De Sales’ Megan Matsko shoots over Mercy’s Rhianna Betley, left as Mercy’s Lauren Panageotou, right, looks on during the Pink Out game won by the Sailors.
Mount De Sales’ Megan Matsko shoots over Mercy’s Rhianna Betley, left as Mercy’s Lauren Panageotou, right, looks on during the Pink Out game won by the Sailors. (Colby Ware/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Mount de Sales senior Megan Matsko had 10 points, 12 rebounds, 8 steals and 3 assists to lead the host Sailors (8-10, 5-4 conference) to a 39-28 win over Mercy in the 8th annual Pink Out game.

Freshman Harper Eudy made her first start and led the Sailors in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference game with 14 points, including four three-pointers.

Mount de Sales JV coach Nancy Lukowski orchestrated the 8th annual event that raised an estimated $2,000 for the St. Agnes Breast Cancer Center.

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