The teams have been picked, and the first Anne Arundel Senior All-Star Baseball Classic is ready to be played at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at Joe Cannon Stadium.
Sponsored by the Friends of Joe Cannon Committee, the game will showcase the county's top graduating baseball players.
Each of the 14 county high schools that play baseball had the chance to be represented with at least one player. Annapolis Area Christian School announced yesterday that it will not compete.
Class 2A state finalist Northeast headlines the North Team, with four players selected, while Class 4A Region IV champion Arundel and runner-up Broadneck each landed four players on the South with 4A region semifinalist Severna Park boasting three.
The North and South teams each will have 15 players. The players were nominated by their high school coaches, then the teams were selected by a panel of local sportswriters with input from the coaches. Each team has at least five pitchers, two catchers, five infielders and four outfielders.
Let's take a look at the rosters, starting with the North, to be coached by Bruce Sider of Glen Burnie, Jim Simms of Chesapeake and Mel Montgomery of Old Mill.
Catcher Rich Spiegel, infielders Chad O'Brien and K. C. Murphy and outfielder Derek Dolch were the four named from Northeast. Glen Burnie landed three in left-handed pitcher/first baseman Tony Saunders and infielders Shannon Cavey and Dave Lanham.
Chesapeake also will have three players in the game -- left-handed pitcher Jimmy Wolfe and pitcher/infielders Darrell Keith and Jason Siemer.
Catcher Mike Mahoney and outfielder Mark Bailey are the Old Mill reps, with outfielder John Bilheimer of North County, infielder/outfielder Pat Calabrese of Archbishop Spalding and pitcher Ian Taylor of Meade completing the North squad.
Ace right-hander Brian Rolocut (11-1) heads up the foursome from Arundel on the South club. Rolocut, who also can swing the bat and play the outfield, is joined by Wildcat teammates outfielder/third baseman Chris Durocher, catcher Curt Odar and infielder Tre Overstreet.
Broadneck's selectees include pitchers/shortstops Jeff Vincent and Matt Weimer, catcher Larry Krzyzaniak and third baseman Cliff McClain. Severna Park landed the county's premier outfielder in Steve Neuberger, pitcher/infielder Rob McCandless and second baseman Jay Novak.
South River is represented by infielder Al Lee; outfielder/catcher Ty Selby represents Annapolis; and outfielder/pitcher Eric Hammett is from Southern. One other player will be added to the South Team after it was learned yesterday that Annapolis Area Christian School will not participate.
Jim Pitt of Severna Park, Larry Brogden of Annapolis and Kenny Dunn of South River will coach the South entry.
The game is the perfect lead-in to a scholar-athlete dinner on June 2 at Michael's Eighth Avenue. That evening, one outstanding student-athlete from each of the 14 baseball schools will be honored with an overall winner to receive a special award.
Also, at the first baseball scholar-athlete dinner, other awards will be presented to the county's top high school baseball team, coach of the year and to one who has contributed more than his share to amateur baseball.
The special individual recipients will be announced next week.
It's all part of the work of the Friends of Joe Cannon Committee headed by President Dave Conrad and Rec and Parks liaisons Don Brooks and Michael Busch to promote amateur baseball in Anne Arundel County.
Pro scouts such as Jim Gilbert of the Baltimore Orioles and Walter Youse of the Milwaukee Brewers are on record saying that the county has the best high school league in Maryland.
RF The only snag that could occur for the all-star game is the 6 p.m.
starting time. Several of the players selected are expected to be in Salisbury that morning trying out for the Maryland team of high school all-stars.
Those trying out have to be on the Eastern Shore at 9:30 a.m. that day and will play a doubleheader against an unlimited men's team. For some that could be a lot of baseball and running around.
In other local baseball news, Severna Park's Neuberger verbally has committed to the University of Maryland on a part-athletic and part-academic scholarship.
The polished Falcon outfielder, who hit .491 this spring with five home runs, successfully stole bases on 24 of 25 attempts and scored a school-record 29 runs, turned down a full scholarship to James Madison University and offers from a host of other Division I schools.
Because of his speed and quick bat, Neuberger is likely to be drafted next month in the major- league baseball free-agent draft.
Falcon coach Jim Pitt, an ex-pro himself who is not free with such accolades, said Neuberger "is definitely a prospect and Division I player."
Pitt graduated from the University of Maryland and went on to play in the Minnesota Twins' farm system.
Neuberger also received two coveted awards this week, one at school and one nationally. The senior, who also starred in soccer for three years, took the prestigious George Roberts Award as the Falcons Top Male Athlete at the school's spring sports banquet.
The Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year Award also is going to Neuberger.
Some good news from the guys who call balls and strikes. Jack Kramp, veteran Anne Arundel Umpires Association umpire in chief and scheduler, said he "was flooded by phone calls" and has changed his mind about resigning June 15.
In "Sidelines" on Wednesday, I reported that Kramp was fed up with petty complaining within the ranks from a handful of his own men and a few coaches and was going to step down.
Well, apparently a lot of you feel the same way I do, that losing Kramp would severely hamper the smoothly run high school and youth programs, and your calls to coax him to stay on changed his mind.
"After talking to you and a lot of other people, you're right, I can't give it up," said Kramp, who faces a serious back operation next month. His bad back has been giving him fits for the last couple of years and prevents him from doing what he loves most -- to get out and umpire. As an umpire, Kramp had an impeccable reputation as one of the best in the business.
"I've worked too hard to help build it up, and I don't want to be responsible for it falling apart. Besides, a lot of my guys said if I go, they go with me, and I don't want the association to collapse," he said.
"It shows that people do care about me, and I appreciate that. And if you get a chance in your Q's and A's column, would you tell everybody I'm not resigning, so this phone will stop ringing?"
With a chuckle, Kramp added, "I'll be on this job for life, I guess."
Let's hope that's a long time.