April didn't provide the best conditions for the state's baseball teams, but several Division I hitters have had superb seasons.
Maryland senior Derek Hocopian and Towson State junior Jay Logwood ranked 2-3 in Division I batting through Sunday's games, and are chasing Indiana's Mike Smith for the NCAA crown.
Logwood, a junior outfielder from Randallstown, took a .504 mark, 14 home runs and 45 RBI into yesterday's game at Delaware. Hocopian, a transfer from James Madison, is challenging for the ACC triple crown with a .491 batting average, 18 home runs and 65 RBI.
UMBC, the main roadblock to a second straight East Coast Conference title for Towson State, leads the nation in hitting, and the Retrievers' leader has been Shawn Shugars, a sophomore first baseman from Charlotte Hall in St. Mary's County. In his first 38 games, he had a .430 average, 17 doubles and 51 RBI.
Navy, which finished with an 18-20 record, got another big year from Todd Butler, a junior shortstop out of Centennial High who has started 107 straight games. In 38 games this spring, he had a school record 18 doubles and a .336 average.
* The Middle Atlantic Conference's future is uncertain following yesterday's announcement that Washington and members who play football in the Centennial Conference will break off in all sports, but for now state teams remain a big part of the MAC.
Johns Hopkins, which has probably locked up a berth in the 32-team NCAA Division III tournament, will try to win its first MAC baseball title since 1975 Saturday at Riverside Stadium in Harrisburg, Pa.
The 27-5 Blue Jays, who won the Southeast Section, meet Moravian of the Southwest in a semifinal game at 2 p.m. Susquehanna and King's are in the other semifinal, and the winners play at 6 p.m. Susquehanna's second game starter would probably be Mark Mussina, younger brother of the Orioles' Mike.
Washington, which played lacrosse in the MAC for the first time
this spring, is host to Gettysburg tomorrow (3 p.m.) in another title game, and there's much at stake. Gettysburg is ranked No. 7 and the Shoremen No. 8, and only the winner figures to make the NCAA Division III field.
The MAC track and field championships are Saturday at Franklin & Marshall.
* There are several other championship track and field meets Saturday. The final ECC gathering goes at Towson State's Minnegan Stadium at 9:30, with the Rider men seeking their third straight title. Frostburg State is host to the Mason-Dixon championships.
The premier meet on state soil this spring might be in Emmitsburg, where Mount St. Mary's is the beneficiary of a cancellation at George Mason. Penn State and West Virginia are among the teams coming to the Metro Championships, and the Mountaineers will also be a bigger player as decathlete Jim Stevenson and Eric Graham, a freshman sprinter from Oakland Mills, fully recover from nagging injuries.
* For the first time since the national championship game in 1986, women's lacrosse will be played at Byrd Stadium Saturday (7:30 p.m.), when No. 2 Maryland plays No. 6 Penn State. The Nittany Lions might need to win to get into the six-team NCAA tournament and prolong the career of Deanna Blood.
A senior from Belcamp who starred in three sports at Dulaney High, Blood got her 100th career point last Saturday against Princeton.
* UMBC's Sol Schwartz, a senior from Pikesville, takes a 14-1 record into this weekend's ECC tennis tournament at Central Connecticut.