Teams may flip over top seed Archbishop Curley could be the culprit


Who's got a two-headed coin, Old Mill or Severna Park? And should county resident Al Frank do the honors of tossing it in the air?

Those are some tidbits for baseball fans to discuss on the way to postseason play.

At least the Kentucky Derby had a favorite, even though it didn't come through, but in the Class 4A Region IV baseball playoff race suddenly no favorite exists. Severna Park and Old Mill have clinched berths and Arundel is just one win away, but where they are seeded is anyone's guess.

The top seed and home-field advantage through the regionals, May 15-16, might come down to a coin flip.

A tie for that top seed between Severna Park and Old Mill is conceivable with the final step in the tiebreaker criteria -- the coin flip -- likely to be the decisive factor. If it comes to that, you can blame it on Archbishop Curley of the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference.

Yes, a club not even in the county league can be blamed if the home-field advantage goes to whoever calls it right on heads or tails.

The Friars of Curley (9-7) and Coach Al Frank have refused to make up scheduled games with Old Mill and Severna Park. Curley was slated to play host to Severna Park on March 23 and was to visit Old Mill on March 27, but both games were postponed.

Repeated phone calls by Old Mill's Mel Montgomery and Jim Pitt of Severna Park to Frank, a county resident, have not been returned so they can reschedule the games. Montgomery mentioned the make-up to Frank at the Broadneck Bruins Easter Tournament, but to no avail.

Curley, classified a 2A school in enrollment, is only worth six points, but had the Friars defeated either Old Mill or Severna Park, the six points could have settled the top seed, instead of a dingy, old quarter doing the job.

You have to wonder if the MSA has been embarrassed enough by Anne Arundel County baseball that Curley didn't want to put any more feathers in the cap of the county league. After all, the top two teams in the MSA, Mount St. Joseph and Calvert Hall, were humbled by Anne Arundel teams.

St. Joe was humiliated, 15-2, by Glen Burnie (9-9) in the Gaels' Easter Tournament, and Severna Park blanked the Hall, 3-0.

Severna Park was the horse that ran away from everyone early on, but had its romp abruptly halted. The Falcons reeled off 15 consecutive wins and basked in the glory of being ranked No. 1 by The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post and No. 9 in the USA Today Super 25 for high school baseball.

That was going into Monday of this week and a trip to Glen Burnie. Unpredictable Glen Burnie upset the Falcons, 6-2, and then Severna Park suffered a 13-7 loss Wednesday at Chesapeake.

The Falcons have still another tough game to play today at home against Old Mill.

As it stands before the first pitch is thrown today, Severna Park leads Region IV with a record of 13-2 (Easter tournament games do not count toward the playoffs) and 99 points, followed by Old Mill at 12-3 with 91 points.

The playoff system awards teams points by classification. Class 4A schools are the maximum eight points, followed by 3A schools (seven), 2A (six) and 1A (five).

If Old Mill wins today at Severna Park, the two clubs would be tied at 99 points with one game to go. On Monday, Old Mill plays host to Chesapeake (9-7) and Severna Park travels to Annapolis (1-18).

Let's assume each then wins its final game, and they both finish with 107 playoff points over 17 games. That brings us to the tiebreaker criteria.

Step 1 is head-to-head results. That settles nothing because they split. Nothing is settled on step 2, where the won/loss percentage against member schools in Class 4A would be the same, because both would be 11-3.

Because they play the same schedule you can forget steps 3 and 4 that involve won/loss percentage against all MPSSAA schools and all opponents, respectively. It also would be identical.

One tiebreaker step is left and it says, "All ties not resolved by the above procedures will be broken by a coin flip."

No question home-field advantage plays a major role, and it is a shame it might be determined by a coin flip instead of on the field because of the ridiculous rules and also because Curley wouldn't make up its games.

It won't come down to that for seeds three and four, where the two that qualify will be cut and dried.

With its 13-6 victory over Queen Anne's (6-11), Arundel (11-5) with 82 points has just about clinched seed No. 3 and has an outside shot at No. 2. Bernie Walter's Wildcats would have to win their final two -- South River (6-12) at home tonight and at Broadneck (10-6) Monday.

South River and Broadneck victories would give Arundel 97 points, not to mention 300 career victories for Walter. Old Mill would have to lose at Severna Park today and Monday at home against Chesapeake (9-7).

That would leave Old Mill with 91 points and the third seed behind Severna Park (1) and Arundel (2).

If Chesapeake loses either of its last two -- today at home against Glen Burnie and Monday at Old Mill -- the Cougars are history, but if they win both, they could get in with 83 points.

The Cougars' 13-7 upset of Severna Park on Wednesday has given them a shot, but they have to win both games.

If Broadneck wins today at Southern (5-10), but loses at home on Monday against Arundel, the Bruins, currently fourth in the region with 76 points, would finish with 82 points, one less than Chesapeake.

The Cougars of Coach Jim Simms really could put the pressure on the Bruins going into Monday if they beat Glen Burnie today. It would be ironic for the fate of Simms' team to lie at Old Mill where his son, Jimmy, who now stars at Anne Arundel Community College, was an All-County left-hander.

Is this wild or what? And just think, you've got your pick of several exciting and suspenseful high school baseball games today and Monday. There should be one near you.


In other county baseball news, Don Brooks of Rec and Parks, supervisor of Joe Cannon Stadium, announced this week that a county all-star baseball game for seniors only will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at Cannon Stadium.

Two teams of 15 players to be designated as North and South will play the game. All 13 county public schools and Archbishop Spalding will be eligible and the players will be selected by a special committee.

"We will seek input from the coaches, but the committee will select the players," said Brooks. "Their stats and recommendations will weigh heavily in our decisions."

Brooks said Del. Michael Busch and Joe Cannon, a member of the county volunteer advisory board, are on the selection committee. I haven't figured that one out yet.

I wonder how many county high school baseball games the two have seen and what valuable input they could possibly have. Is it called politics?

Admission to the game will be $3. Children under 12 will be admitted free, and Brooks is hoping for the stadium's first sellout since it opened Sept. 16, 1990.

The 11th annual Anne Arundel County Sun-Oriolelanders All Star Baseball Game for players 22 years and younger christened Cannon with the only capacity crowd (over 1,500) it has ever had.

Admission was free, and maybe this seniors game should be, too, unless the proceeds go toward scholarship money.

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