Local players are touching all bases on tournament-ready NCAA teams

Lacrosse has such a strong presence and following in the Baltimore area that the quality baseball played at the high school and college level here is often overlooked. UMBC has just one non-Marylander on the team that earned an at-large berth to the NCAA baseball tournament, and George Washington used local talent to win the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Dave Fletcher, a senior catcher from Dundalk who's hitting .315, is a four-year starter for the Colonials, who open the Midwest Regional against host Wichita State tomorrow. Scott Sharp, a sophomore third baseman who played at Liberty High, is an A-10 all-star with a .360 batting average, and he has eight pitching starts. The second baseman is Todd Pitsinger, a senior from Chesapeake High.


Ryan Clark, a freshman from Mount St. Joseph, has 14 pitching appearances. Another top prospect for the Colonials is Ryan Hendricks, a sophomore first baseman. Despite his bloodlines -- he's Elrod Hendricks' son -- the McDonogh School graduate didn't take the game seriously until he was 15.

North Carolina State, the second seed in UMBC's Atlantic Regional at Miami, has Randallstown's Robbie Bark in centerfield. Another Baltimore Countian will play that position part-time for Ohio State in the South I Regional at LSU. Roy Marsh, a freshman from Perry Hall, is hitting .326 for the Buckeyes.


* IMPORT-DRIVEN: Essex Community College, conversely, is headed to the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., with more Pennsylvanians than Marylanders.

The Knights have 12 Pennsylvanians on their roster, and the most productive has been Jeff Fry, a freshman outfielder-pitcher who has a team-leading .454 batting average and a 3-0 pitching record. Jackson Edwards, a sophomore from Lancaster, has a 7-1 record, and could start against the Community College of Rhode Island on Saturday, when the 10-team tournament opens.

Chris Lafferman, The Baltimore Sun Athlete of the Year for Poly in 1989-90 who first attended Towson State, is hitting .315 while playing third base and first. The rightfielder is Ken Batten, a freshman from C. Milton Wright. Jerry Fisher, a freshman from Southern in the city, has a 4-1 record and a 2.07 ERA, but arm problems have slowed his progress.

Essex (29-4) has won 12 straight games, going unbeaten in postseason play. The Knights' eighth-year coach is George Henderson, who took the Community College of Baltimore to the Junior College World Series in 1980 and '82. Dave Johnson was one of his pitchers 10 years ago.

* TAKE ME BACK TO TEXAS: Morgan State senior Andrea Thomas qualified for the NCAA track and field championships in Austin, Texas, in the 400-meter --, as her winning time of 52.66 seconds at the ECACs cleared the automatic standard of 52.80. Maryland's Marchelle Payne, already an NCAA qualifier, took the triple jump with a seasonal best of 43 feet, 2 1/4 inches.

Morgan State's Lisa Shands, a senior from Poly, was second to Villanova's Irene Ruopoli in the 800 in a personal best of 2:07.31. The NCAA automatic qualifying time is 2:05.50, and Shands is behind Coppin State sophomore Diana Pitts on the provisional list. Pitts took second at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C., shaving more than two seconds off her PR with a time of 2:06.17.

It's IC4A weekend for the men, with Northeastern University in Boston serving as the host school.

* ET CETERA: The Loyola golf team, behind seniors Tom Burns, Andy Halverson and Tom Gramigna, is hoping for a bid to the NCAA Division I tournament. . . .The Greyhounds tennis team, meanwhile, finished 12-3, with David Ohlmuller going 14-5 in the No. 1 singles spot. . . .Offensive MVP Phil McIntyre, a 1989 graduate of Friends School, will co-captain Denison's lacrosse team next spring.


UMBC's probable lineup

UMBC used primarily Maryland talent to gain a berth in the NCAA Division I baseball tournament. Here is the Retrievers' probable starting lineup for tomorrow's (7:30 p.m.) Atlantic Regional opener against Miami, the No. 1 team in the nation.

Name .. .. .. .. .. Pos. .. .. .. High School/Hometown .. .. .. .. .. Stats

Greg Elliott .. ... CF .. ... ... Calvert Hall/New Windsor .. ... 396, 72 runs

Shawn Shugars .. .. 1B .. ... ... Chopticon/Charlotte Hall .. ... .425, 62 RBI

Bob Mumma .. .. ... C ... ... ... Rising Sun/Rising Sun .. .. ... .349, 12 HRs


Andy Coleman .. ... 3B .. ... ... Seneca Valley/Gaithersburg .. . .378, 56 RBI

Greg Deares ... ... DH ... .. ... Archbishop Curley/Dundalk .. .. .330, 10 HRs

Brent Nickles .. .. RF .. ... ... Centennial/Columbia ... ... ... .342, 37 RBI

John Burns ... ... SS ... ... ... Owings Mills/Owings Mills ... .. 307, 38 RBI

Brian Loewe ... ... LF .. ... ... Perry Hall/Perry Hall .. .. .. .323, 42 runs

Dan Sexton .. .. .. 2B .. ... ... Plainsboro/Trenton, N.J. .. .. .321, 24 RBI


Craig Grasser ... RHP ... ... ... Archbishop Curley/Baltimore .. 8-2, 59 Ks,18 BBs

Trevor Buckley .. RHP ... ... ... North Carroll/Hampstead .. ... 6-4, 79 1/3 inn.

Kevin Alarie ... RHP .. .. .. ... Annapolis/Annapolis ... ... ... 7-4, 30 Ks, 5 BBs