It's playoff time, and here comes the Prophet, sports fans!
In typical fashion, your rage of a sage is hot at nitty-gritty time and had such a great week (5-1) that coaches now are calling for advice and the word on what their teams will do in the playoffs.
"Swami, Guru or Wizard, whatever you call yourself down there, you picked us by two over Glen Burnie. Well, we did it for you, and we won by 5-3," said Chesapeake softball coach Dennis Thiele, calling on the 24-Hour Sportsline.
Chesapeake was one of five picks the Prophet hit last week to run his overall record to 163-90 (.644). The sage also scored on three baseball picks and one boys lacrosse game. The only miss was Archbishop Spalding's 6-1 loss to Archbishop Curley in a Maryland Scholastic Association BB Conference lacrosse matchup.
"Sorry we messed up your pick," said Spalding coach Terry Mangan, who did a marvelous job turning the Cavs around from a 3-9 team to a 7-6 club that missed the playoffs by dropping that final game.
The Prophet, who picked Spalding by a goal, was right on in picking Severn to defeat Gilman of Baltimore and qualify for the MSA A Conference playoffs. Severn took the Hounds, 10-6.
In baseball, Old Mill, a one-run favorite, knocked Chesapeake out of the 4A Region IV playoffs as predicted by 5-4, while Arundel (two-run pick) clinched with a 5-2 triumph over South River.
Prophet Pat said Broadneck would top Southern by two runs or more, and the Bruins won their final regular-season game in Harwood, 6-2.
Class 4A Region IV playoffs
No. 4 Arundel (11-7) at No. 1 Chesapeake (16-1), 3:45 p.m. today: Coach Dennis Thiele has his girls peaking at the right time.
With 15 wins in succession, two-time defending state champion Chesapeake is definitely the favorite in this region and will likely repeat as state champion.
Lori Congdon is pitching well, and with hitters like Becky Thiele (.563), Tracy Starke (.444), Natalie Black (.420) and Kim Woody (.411), how could anyone pick against the Cougars?
Arundel is a surprise playoff team going from 7-10 last spring to 11-7 this year. The Wildcats of coaches Don Banks have done a wonderful job behind ace windmiller Traci Koenig, but their season ends today in Lake Shore. Chesapeake by two over Arundel.
No. 3 Old Mill (16-2) at No. 2 North County (16-2), 3:45 p.m. today: Old Mill has the better overall club, and while Karen Hay is an outstanding pitcher, the Patriots will scratch and claw for enough runs to win. Look for big games from the Old Mill Jens, Schmittle and Bostak. Old Mill by one over North County.
4A Region IV championship game, Saturday at highest seed: Bonus pick -- Chesapeake by one over Old Mill or North County.
Class 2A Region III playoffs
No. 3 Fairmont Heights at Northeast (15-3), 3:45 p.m. today: A fourth straight state championship is unlikely for the Eagles. The Prophet doesn't think they will get out of the region because of top-seeded Damascus.
Coach Lynn Pitonzo's Eagles have been playing well with senior pitcher/hitter Stacy Reynolds leading the way, and they will win this one over their Prince George's opponent. Northeast by one over Fairmont Heights.
No. 4 Surrattsville at No. 1 Damascus (15-0), 3:45 p.m. today: Damascus, the top-ranked team by The Washington Post, will roll through this regional with little trouble as windmiller Marci Whitehead rings up the K's. Damascus by two over Surrattsville.
2A Region III championship game, Saturday at highest seed: Bonus pick -- Damascus and Whitehead will avenge last year's 1-0 state championship loss to Northeast, take the region title by a run and go on to win the 2A state championship.
4A Region IV playoffs
No. 4 Broadneck (12-8) at No. 1 Severna Park (17-2), 3:45 p.m. tomorrow: Can the visiting Bruins come into Pitt Park, where pop flies are homers and players turn ankles in the gully near the outfield fence, and upset the top-seeded Falcons?
Severna Park is a very strong team that has little problem knocking the ball out of the park.
The Falcons can annihilate opponents. Just ask Old Mill. The Patriots came into Severna Park Monday with a shot at top seed and were destroyed, 20-5, as the Falcons whacked six home runs, two by first sacker Roy Dietrich.
In their own park, they are all the more awesome because you can't let them hit fly balls that turn into easy homers. Whether Matt Weimer or Jeff Vincent pitches this game for the fourth-seeded Bruins, he'll have to strike out a bunch to win, or it could be a long afternoon.
After a mild drought last week, the Falcons got the bats out Monday. And even if the bombardment ceases, the Prophet doesn't see the Bruins, who don't have a strong hitting club, getting enough runs off either John Ritter or Rob McCandless to win the ballgame.
Pitt can't be faulted for whoever he pitches in this game, since both McCandless and Ritter have been outstanding all season. Severna Park by one over Broadneck.
No. 3 Arundel (15-5) at No. 2 Old Mill (12-6), 3:45 p.m. tomorrow: The last time these two clubs met, the Patriots stole one with three unearned runs in the seventh to win, 3-2. That game woke up the defending state 4A champion Wildcats, who have been an entirely different club since then.
Arundel has looked like the Arundel we have become accustomed to watching for most of the 19 years and 300 wins of the Bernie Walter era. The coach said last week how pleased he was with the team and mentioned the way sophomore right-hander Brandon Agamennone has come of age.
It may be up to Agamennone to win this game and put the Wildcats in the region final, with ace Brian Rolocut probably to face Severna Park. To win at Severna Park, you need strikeouts from your pitcher, and Rolocut (10-0) is the only county pitcher with more than 100.
Arundel will hit the baseball to win this one and set the stage for the big showdown at Severna Park Saturday. Arundel by two over Old Mill.
4A Region IV championship game Saturday: Bonus pick -- A dramatic grand slam by the Falcons' John Milisitz, the best catcher in the metro area, gave Severna Park a 6-4 win over the Wildcats in a rain-shortened contest on April 1.
Rolocut did not pitch that day and the Prophet is a firm believer that great pitching beats great hitting in big games. It doesn't matter that the Severna Park players hammered Rolocut last summer in the legion league.
It's not the same Rolocut they will see this weekend. If Rolocut is on, the strikeouts will be in double digits and Arundel will end the Falcons' dream. If not, the Falcons will be headed to the final four for the first time in school history. Arundel by one over Severna Park.
' The Prophet to date Right Wrong Pct.