TALENTED BEARS BAD NEWS TO REST OF BASEBALL TEAMS

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It looks like the year of the Bear in county baseball.

With above-average pitching, hitting, defense and speed, the Bears of Hammond High will be bad news to the rest of the county teams.

Oakland Mills has six returning starters from a 12-8 season, and that includes two good pitchers. The Scorpions will provide Hammond with some intense competition.

Centennial, under new coach Ron Martin, has two new and promising hurlers and could become a contender ifthat pitching produces.

Mount Hebron won only five games last year but played every one close, and the Vikings return seven players. If they hit, they should win a lot of games.

Atholton and Glenelg, two teams that finished first and second respectively the past two seasons, are both young and rebuilding.

Wilde Lake returns seven starting players from a 10-10 team, but faces a shortage of pitching.

And Howard has one outstanding pitcher, but is inexperienced defensively.

Here's a school-by-school view of what the 1991 season holds:

ATHOLTON

The two-time defending county champions, who posted a 34-9 overall record and 24-4 county mark during the last two years, will have trouble repeating this year.

The Raiders gained a lot of talent from a championship junior varsity team that went 18-2, but they have only three returning players.

They also have a new coach, Kevin Kelly. The team's coach for the past 12 years, Don Van Deusen, gave up coaching baseball to become athletic director. Kelly has coached Atholton's junior varsity since 1980, winning four county titles.

"Pitching and defense will be critical for this team, and it wouldhelp if we could win a few early games to build confidence," Kelly said.

Heading the defense will be first-team All-County returnee Brian Van Deusen at second base. Van Deusen, a junior, handled 57 playswithout making an error last year, and he batted .283 with 16 sacrifice bunts. He's not flashy and lacks speed but is fundamentally sound.

Other returnees are right-fielder Frank Coulson and catcher Tom Ecker.

Counting Van Deusen, the Raiders will have four guys named Brian and one named Bryan on the starting team this year. Brian Gick,Bryan Egolf and Brian Smith will share the pitching, shortstop and center-field positions.

Gick, who batted .355 for the junior varsity, will pitch and play short, Egolf will pitch and play center and Smith will play short or center.

The team's fourth Brian, Brian Hannah, will play first base. He batted .339 for the junior varsity. BothGick and Hannah have speed on the bases.

Billy Mills will play third base. He led the junior varsity with a .409 batting average.

Another talented player up from JV is Marc Trecannelli, an outfielder.

"We don't have any hard throwers, so we won't be striking people out and will need a good defense," Kelly said. "A .500 season would be successful."

CENTENNIAL

For the Eagles to fly this year two new pitchers, Justin Thomas and Brian Bickerton, must produce.

Thomas,a senior, is a hard-throwing senior transfer from Oregon who figuresto be the team's top hurler.

Bickerton, a junior, is up from junior varsity with good reviews.

"It's just too early to say if our pitching will be adequate, so I can't tell how we'll do overall," first-year coach Ron Martin said.

The Eagles return six starters, including a fine shortstop, Brent McGraw, and a talented 6-foot, 210-pound catcher, Jon Loden.

Austin Groves (1B), Sam Yurko (2B) and Sean Barth (3B) complete a returning infield.

"With all the players coming up from junior varsity, we'll have two adequate players at each infield position," Martin said.

Martin thinks the outfield defense will be adequate, and the team's hitting better than adequate.

TheEagles won only five games last year. The 40-year old Martin, a mathteacher, hopes that that low number improves significantly this year.

GLENELG

The Gladiators return four starters, including senior pitcher Ricky Miller and senior outfielder Juan Dorsey.

They come from a team that finished second behind Atholton with a 14-7 record, and that lost to eventual state Class 2A champion Allegany in the regional semifinals last year.

But for the first time in many years, Glenelg can't be considered a strong contender to win a county title.

They simply have too much youth.

And one returning starter, MikeD'Andrea, a pitcher and first baseman, has a broken bone in his pitching hand and will miss the first part of the season.

Players up from junior varsity who should help are pitcher Kevin Roland, second-baseman Matt Drummond and shortstop Joe Goldberg, the JV's leading hitter.

"We're down a little in talent and in numbers," Glenelg coachTerry Coleman said. "Lack of experience will be a problem."

HAMMOND

The Bears have failed to even make the playoffs the past three years, and have never won a county title.

But they are itching to make up for past deficiencies in a big way this year.

Hammond is a good bet to win not only a county title, but a state title this season.

They have two better-than-average returning starting pitchers, seniors Joe Nestor and Mike Lerner.

Nestor is a hard throwing left-hander with a good slider who no-hit Mount Hebron for 6 2/3 innings last year.

In addition, a third pitcher, senior Jeff Cyran, also throws hard and will pitch mainly in relief. He is an outstanding shortstop, a Howard County Sun first-team All-County player who tied for the lead in batting last year at .426. He popped two homers and eight doubles.

The outfield will be young. When Nestor pitches, it will include three sophomores, Matt Cyran, Joe Brewer and Kelvin Stevens. All three are speedsters.

"We should score a lot of runs, and I don't think we'll be giving up that many," Maxey said. "I can't wait to get started."

Cyran's younger brother, Matt, is up from junior varsity, and the sophomore will play center field and pitch in relief.

Jeff Lavis, a Howard County Sun second-team All-County designated hitter, returns at first base. He batted .356 with three homers and 18RBI.

"We have our entire infield and our pitching back, the best power man in the county (Lavis) and the best hitter (Cyran), so on paper I think we're the favorite," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said. "This is the best group we've had."

Rounding out the infield are third-baseman Mike Alverez and second-baseman Tom Costell, both of whom havespeed on the bases.

HOWARD

The Lions have only 11 players, but all five of its returnees can hit.

That gives second-year coach TonyMiceli a reason to be hopeful.

Another reason for optimism is junior pitcher Tony Saunders, a hard-throwing left-hander who didn't play last year.

Opposing coaches have Saunders pegged as a superstar before he's even thrown to one varsity batter.

Howard also has a couple of other left-handers, returning senior Dave Doy and junior newcomer Marty Wright. Sophomore right-hander Brad Mountcastle, another newcomer, has also thrown well in practice. And returning right-handed junior Tait Arend is throwing well, also.

"We'll have good pitching," Miceli said. "But our defense is inexperienced, especially the outfield." Other returning players include senior first-baseman ChrisPinkerton, senior catcher Darin Nelson and junior catcher Adam Eldridge.

"We're young and unproven but have a good attitude and are practicing hard," Miceli said.

MOUNT HEBRON

When a team wins only five games the previous season, it probably should not have too much reason for optimism.

But Vikings Coach Dave Appleby definitely foresees at least a winning season.

"We'll be much improved," Appleby said.

The Vikings' top player will be catcher Baron Gauna, a HowardCounty Sun second-team All-County pick last year when he batted .333. He's an excellent defensive player.

The top pitcher will be junior Mike Miller, a 6-2, 190-pounder who throws hard.

The No. 2 pitcher will be Chris Dodson, a 6-foot, 190-pounder.

Todd Messner, whowas a starting pitcher last year, will be the closer this year.

Acouple of newcomers should help out the offense. Senior first-baseman Jim O'Leary is 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds with some pop in his bat. And junior designated hitter Chris Leineur, 6-2, 190 pounds, can also hit.

"We should have pitching, defense and speed, but our weakness may be hitting," Appleby said.

OAKLAND MILLS

Behind senior pitchers Joe Coughlan and Brian Lopez, the Scorpions should go a long way this year.

Coughlan, a Howard County Sun second-team All-County player who batted .296 with five homers and 17 RBI, will play third base when he doesn't pitch. He throws hard.

Lopez led the team in earned-run average and wins last year. He's an off-speed thrower who depends on control and an assortment of pitches.

"We've actually strengthened our pitching," Coach Joe Sheppard said. We've picked up three news ones who look good so far."

One is Andy Young, a junior transfer from North Carolina who has control and a good fastball. He also plays shortstop.

Another one is hard-throwing Tony Scarzello, a junior who can play third base.

And junior Jason Kane is a control-type pitcher who also plays first base.

The Scorpions have an experienced outfield with Jon Cohen, Todd Lockwood and Travis Williams.

Matt Donovan is a solid fielder at second base.

"We have a solid team and have the potential to be up there with anyone," Sheppard said.

WILDE LAKE

The Wildecats return eight players from a 10-10 teamthat narrowly missed winning a regional championship last year. Theylost, 7-5, to Towson in the regional finals.

But that team's top two pitchers, including Howard County Sun Co-Player of the Year HowieBrown, graduated and will be difficult to replace.

"Our pitching is gone, so we're probably looking at a .500 season and would be happy to make the playoffs," Coach Ed Ashwell said.

The No. 1 pitcher will be senior Ben Casella, who will also be one of the team's betterhitters.

The team's strength will be its defense, particularly the outfield, where returning speedsters Adam Tyer and Aba McMillan will play.

Tyer, 6 feet 2, 180 pounds, has a great arm and runs a 4.5in the 40-yard --. He batted .327 with seven doubles, 24 RBI and 16 stolen bases. He was a Howard County Sun second-team All-County selection.

Another second-team pick was shortstop Billy Ferguson, who batted .372 and sparkled in the field as a freshman.

Second-basemanCharlie Gale is a solid all-around player in his fourth varsity season.

1991 BASEBALL PREVIEW

Atholton Raiders

Coach: Kevin Kelly (first year).

1990 record: 17-5 overall, 12-2 league, county champions.

Returnees: Seniors Frank Coulson (OF), Tom Ecker (C); Junior Brian Van Deusen.

Newcomers to watch: Juniors Brian Gick (P, SS), Bryan Egolf (OF, P), Brian Hannah (1B), Brian Smith (SS, OF), Billy Mills (3B), Marc Trecannelli (OF).

Coach's outlook: "Our pitchers need to keep the ball in the park, and we have to play good defense. A.500 season would be a successful one."

Howard County Sun outlook: The team is extremely young but talented. How high it finishes simply depends on how quickly the young talent develops on the varsity level.

Centennial Eagles

Coach: Ron Martin (first year).

1990 record: 5-12 overall, 5-9 league.

Returnees: Seniors Brent McGraw (SS), Sam Yurko (2B, P), Austin Groves (1B, OF), Sean Barth (P, 3B), Jon Loden (C), Jason Weinstein (OF, P).

Newcomers to watch: Seniors Justin Thomas (P, OF), Bill Zei (OF); Juniors Brian Bickerton (P, SS), Chris Calamari (3B), Greg Short (2B).

Coach's outlook: "We're strong in the infield and behind the plate, but it's too soon to say how good our pitching will be, so I don't really know how we match upwith the rest of the league."

Howard County Sun outlook: The Eagles should be a first-division team with some good returning players and two promising new pitchers in Thomas and Bickerton.

Glenelg Gladiators

Coach: Terry Coleman (12th year).

1990 record: 14-7 overall, 11-3 league.

Returnees: Seniors Juan Dorsey (OF), Ricky Miller (OF, P), Mike D'Andrea (P, 1B), Jim Heath (C), Mike Winters (1B), Larry LaGuardia (P), Ed Duckhorn (2B).

Newcomers to watch: Senior Austin Schrauder (OF); Juniors Kevin Roland (P), Matt Drummond (2B), Joe Goldberg (SS), Eric Grant (OF), Scott Simms (OF).

Coach's outlook: "This is the first time in a long time I can't say we are a potential champion, but I'm optimistic about the future."

Howard County Sun outlook: The Gladiators are perennial contenders, and it seems strange not to pick Glenelg to be near the top of the league, but a first-division finish is probably as high as the rebuilding team aspires.

Hammond Golden Bears

Coach: Bob Maxey (fifth year).

1990record: 9-10 overall, 6-8 league.

Returnees: Seniors Jeff Cyran (P, SS), Mike Alverez (3B), Joe Nestor (P, OF ), Mike Lerner (P), Tom Costell (2B), Mark Salerno (C), Jeff Lavis (1B).

Newcomers to watch: Junior Josh Zinnamon (1B, DH); Sophomores Matt Cyran ( OF, P), JoeBrewer (OF), Kelvin Stevens (OF).

Coach's outlook: "With our entire infield and pitching staff back I think we're the favorite on paper."

Howard County Sun outlook: The Bears have it all -- pitching, hitting, defense and speed -- and should win their first county baseball championship. They also have a good shot at winning a state Class2A title.

Howard Lions

Coach: Tony Miceli (second year).

1990 record: 7-13 overall, 5-9 league.

Returnees: Seniors Dave Doy (P, OF), Chris Pinkerton (1B), Darin Nelson (C, OF); Juniors Tait Arend (P, 3B), Adam Eldridge (C).

Newcomers to watch: Juniors Tony Saunders (P, OF), Marty Wright(P, 1B), Jeff Scrivener (2B), Brian Kushner (OF), Greg DeGrafft (OF; Sophomore Brad Mountcastle (P, SS).

Coach's outlook: "We're working toward at least a .500 season. We have good pitching and our hitting will be OK. Our defense is inexperienced."

Howard County Sun outlook: If pitcher Tony Saunders lives up tohis superior advance reputation and the Lions produce some defensivesupport, they could be tough on any given day. It's difficult to pick them much higher than fifth at this point, but that could change.

Mount Hebron Vikings

Coach: Dave Appleby (fourth year)

1990 record: 5-13 overall, 3-11 league

Returnees: Seniors Baron Gauna (C), Carl Hobbs (OF), Chris Dodson (3B), Todd Messner (P), Eric Glenn (2B); Juniors Mike Miller (P, OF), Tony Yanero (SS) .

Newcomers to watch: Senior Jim O'Leary (1B); Juniors Tony Califano (OF), Cliff Kincaid (P, OF), Chris Leineur (OF, DH).

Coach's outlook: "We're improved and should have a winning record."

Howard County Sun outlook:The Vikings are a dark horse to contend with pitching, defense and speed, but must hit consistently to win. A first-division finish is likely.

Oakland Mills Scorpions

Coach: Joe Sheppard (third year).

1990 record: 12-8 overall, 8-6 league.

Returnees: Seniors Joe Coughlan (P, 3B), Brian Lopez (P, OF), Scott Bavaro (C), Steve Kavakos (1B), Matt Donovan (2B), Jon Cohen (OF), Todd Lockwood (OF), Brandon O'Neill (OF), Keith Naff (P), Travis Williams (OF, P).

Newcomersto watch: Juniors Steve Finkill (SS), Andy Young (P, SS), Devin Keyes (C), Tony Scarzello (P, 3B), Jason Kane (P, 1B).

Coach's outlook: "We have a solid team and have the potential to be up there with anyone."

Howard County Sun outlook: The Scorpions have two proven pitchers in Coughlan and Lopez, but catching and shortstop are unsettled. With nine returning players, however, the Scorpions should be a contender.

Wilde Lake Wildecats

Coach: Ed Ashwell (seventh year).

1990 record: 10-10 overall, 6-8 league.

Returnees: Seniors Adam Tyer (OF), Ben Casella (P, C), Aba McMillan (OF), Charlie Gale (2B), Jean-Pierre Pettitjean (1B), Aric Swezi (OF); Junior Bobby Lane (3B), Sophomore Billy Ferguson (SS).

Newcomers to watch: Senior JerryMcCahill (OF); Juniors Brandon Esterly (C), Shawn Besserer (OF), DanWhlberg (P), Pat Brown (OF), Dan Klein (OF); Sophomore Nate Casella (OF), Rob McGrain (P).

Coach's outlook: "I would be happy if we finish fourth, make the playoffs and have a .500 record."

Howard County Sun outlook: The 'Cats lack pitching, and despite having an otherwise solid returning squad, will have to score a lot of runs to make the first division.

1991 VARSITY BASEBALL SCHEDULE

1991 Varsity baseball schedule

Friday, April 12... ... Mt. Hebron at Atholton... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Oakland Mills at Hammond... ... ..3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Glenelg at Howard... ... ... ....3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Centennial at Wilde Lake... ... . 3:45

Monday, April 15... ... Howard at Atholton... ... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Mt. Hebron at Centennial... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Glenelg at Oakland Mills... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Hammond at Wilde Lake... ... ... .3:45

Wednesday, April 17... .Wilde Lake at Glenelg... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Atholton at Hammond... ... ... .. 3:45

... ... ...... ... ... Centennial at Howard... ... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Oakland Mills at Mt. Hebron... ...3:45

Friday, April 19... ... Oakland Mills at Atholton... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Centennial at Glenelg... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ...Hammond at Mt. Hebron... ... ... .3:34

... ... ... ... ... ... Howard at Wilde Lake... ... ... . 3:45

Monday, April 22... ... Atholton at Centennial... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Glenelg at Hammond... ... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Mt. Hebron at Howard... ... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Wilde Lake at Oakland Mills... .. 3:45

Wednesday, April 24... .Glenelg at Atholton... ... ... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Hammond at Centennial... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Wilde Lake at Mt. Hebron... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Howard at Oakland Mills...... .. 3:45

Friday, April 26... ... Mt. Hebron at Glenelg... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Centennial at Oakland Mills... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Atholton at Wilde Lake... ... ... 3:45

Monday, April 29... ... Wilde Lake at Centennial... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Howard at Glenelg... ... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Atholton at Mt. Hebron... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Hammond at Oakland Mills... ... ..3:45

Wednesday, May 1... ... Oakland Mills at Glenelg... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Wilde Lake at Hammond... ... ... .3:45

... ... ...... ... ... Atholton at Howard... ... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Centennial at Mt. Hebron... ... . 3:45

Thursday, May 2... ... .Hammond at Atholton... ... ... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Howard at Centennial... ... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ...Mt. Hebron at Oakland Mills... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Glenelg at Wilde Lake... ... ... .3:45

Monday, May 6... ... .. Glenelg at Centennial... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Mt. Hebron at Hammond... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Wilde Lake at Howard... ... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Atholton at Oakland Mills... ... .3:45

Wednesday, May 8... ... Centennial at Atholton... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Hammond at Glenelg... ... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Howard at Mt. Hebron...... ... . 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Oakland Mills at Wilde Lake... .. 3:45

Friday, May 10... ... . Atholton at Glenelg... ... ... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Centennial at Hammond... ... ....3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Oakland Mills at Howard... ... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Mt. Hebron at Wilde Lake... ... . 3:45

Monday, May 13... ... . Wilde Lake at Atholton... ... ... 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Oakland Mills at Centennial... .. 3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Howard at Hammond... ... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ... ... ... Glenelg at Mt. Hebron... ... ... .3:45

... ... ... ...Regional Semifinals and Finals

May 17-18... ... ... ...Highest Seed... ... ... ... ... .. TBA

... ... ... ... ..State Semifinals and Finals

May 21-25... ... ... ..Finals at McCurdy Field

2A... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .10 a.m.

3A... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..4 p.m.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
21°