After a very good 6-2 week picking high school contests, I've got some bad news, sports fans. The Prophet is about to bring down the curtain on another year, and that is always a tough pill for a lot of you to swallow.
Your devoted servant, the rage of a sage, has only two picks left, and then it's outta here for another year. Last week's playoff picks left the Prophet at 169-92 overall (.648).
The only misses came in baseball and softball first-round playoff games, but the right teams (the ones the sage picked) won their region titles.
Broadneck upset Severna Park, 5-4, in the 4A Region IV baseball semis. The sage went with the Falcons by a run to win and then get upset by Arundel in the region final.
Arundel came through by eliminating Old Mill, 5-2, (Prophet picked Arundel by two runs) and won the region as predicted over Broadneck by 9-1.
In softball, the Prophet said defending state 4A champion Chesapeake would win it all, and it did. Chesapeake (two-run pick) blanked Arundel, 6-0, and then nipped North County, 3-2, in 11 innings for the 4A Region IV title.
North County (one-run underdog) was an upset winner in the Prophet's eyes over Old Mill by 3-1.
The Prophet was perfect in Class 2A Region III, telling you that defending champion Northeast would get knocked off in the final by Damascus. Northeast romped over Fairmont Heights, 9-1, while Damascus humbled Surrattsville, 15-0, setting up the region final.
Damascus was the favorite by two runs because of its overpowering windmiller Marci Whitehead. Whitehead no-hit the Eagles for a 2-0 victory.
So, all that is left on the Prophet's plate of picks are the Chesapeake girls and Northeast guys. Chesapeake and Northeast go after state titles this weekend.
Chesapeake (19-1) vs. Frederick (17-2), 8 p.m. Friday at Randazzo Park, Class 4A state championship.
Each of these teams took impressive semifinal victories Tuesday at Randazzo Park with Chesapeake hammering 15-4 Sringbrook, 11-0, and Frederick eliminating 20-2 LaPlata, 6-1. As a result, we have a rematch of last year's title game, won by Chesapeake.
The defending state 4A champion Cougars of Coach Dennis Thiele got still another outstanding game from junior ace windmiller Lori Congdon, who combined with Kristin Spak for a one-hit shutout .
Congdon (12-0) went the first five innings, giving up the hit and striking out 11, while Spak threw the final two goose eggs. Catcher Natalie Black drove in four runs to pace the attack.
It marked the second straight year that Chesapeake, ranked No. 1 by The Baltimore Sun and No. 2 by The Washington Post, routed Springbrook in the semis. Chesapeake rolled last spring, 14-0.
Frederick knocked off the No. 7 team in The Washington Post Top 10 in Charles County's LaPlata, which rode a 15-game winning streak into the game.
Chesapeake is seeking its third straight title and fourth in five years, and a victory would give Anne Arundel County seven consecutive state 4A titles.
There is no reason to believe that the Cougars won't do just that, because they have reeled off 18 straight wins, and Coach Thiele has them peaking. Congdon will get the job done on the hill, and the likes of Becky Thiele, Tracy Starke and others will spark the offense.
This one is guaranteed. Chesapeake by two over Frederick, "Lock of the Week."
Northeast (17-5) vs. Walkersville (20-3) of Frederick County 10 a.m. at McCurdy Field in Frederick, Class 2A state championship.
It should be an encore celebration for the Eagles, who moved into the 2A final by defeating James M. Bennett of the Eastern Shore, 7-3. Their opponent from Frederick edged Patapsco of Baltimore County, 3-2.
This one, however, is not guaranteed because Walkersville has a pretty good right-hander in Chris Palmer, who some pro scouts have clocked at near 80 mph.
"Palmer can throw, and they have a pretty solid ballclub," said Northeast coach Harry Lentz. "But I feel we have good scouting reports on them that should help us."
Lentz is likely to pitch Chris Kelly, whose turn is next, but also could go with junior Wayne Hudson, who scattered six hits in the victory over J. M. Bennett.
This is going to be a tough game for the Eagles, unlike last year's 24-0 season, but look for seniors like Rich Spiegel, Derek Dolch, K. C. Murphy and Chad O'Brien to step up and lead the way.
However, the Prophet feels that this Walkersville club has too much in its favor. In its own Easter Tournament, Walkersville lost by only 2-1 to the area's top-ranked Severna Park, then 10-0.
Walkersville is an excellent club, with an outstanding pitcher, playing in its own back yard. Over the years, the Prophet has learned that the calls made by umpires in Frederick seem to go the way of the hometown team.
It's strange, but true. Completing a 24-0 season might have been easier than winning this one. Walkersville and its "home-field" advantage by one over Northeast.
The Prophet to date
Right... ... Wrong... ... Pct.
.169... ... . 92... ... . .648