The high school baseball season has officially ended, but a whole lot remains of the postseason, more than in any other year -- thanks to the Friends of Joe Cannon Committee.
Some coaches have been a little slow responding to the committee's request for the top scholar/athlete on each of the county's 13 high school baseball teams. But somehow, through the efforts of Del. Mike Busch, the list is about complete.
The first Baseball Scholar Dinner is scheduled for June 2 at Michael's Eighth Avenue. One of the 13 honorees will receive a scholarship from the proceeds and sponsors of the event.
The first Anne Arundel County Senior All-Star Baseball Classic, set for 7 p.m. tomorrow at Joe Cannon Stadium, will serve as a tune-up to the Scholar Dinner. Six of the 13 scholars have been named to the showcase game.
Severna Park star outfielder Steve Neuberger and Arundel outfielder/third baseman Chris Durocher will play for the South squad. Dave Lanham of Glen Burnie, Pat Calabrese of Archbishop Spalding, John Bilheimer of North County and Mark Bailey of Old Mill will play for the North.
The other seven scholar athletes are Jason Smith, Annapolis; Tim Wilde, Chesapeake; Scott Rey, Northeast; Kevin Powell, Meade; Pat Collins, Broadneck; Rick Brookman, South River; and the "Unknown Scholar" from Southern.
(Southern seems to have a problem nominating student/athletes for academic honors. I know Southern has not nominated a male athlete in any sport for the Anne Arundel County Sun All-County Academic Athletic Team in the last three years, so it came as no surprise to me that, as of yesterday afternoon, Southern had not given the Cannon Committee a name.)
In addition to the 12 or 13 scholar athletes to be honored at the dinner, four special awards will be presented Tuesday evening.
Class 2A state champion Northeast will receive the "Team of the Year," while Arundel High coach Bernie Walter, who led the Wildcats to the 4A Region IV championship, will receive Coach of the Year Honors.
Lew Holmes, longtime volunteer and president of the Anne Arundel Amateur Baseball Association, will be cited for his many contributions to amateur baseball. Jack Kramp, county umpire in chief and scheduler Jack Kramp also will be honored for his contributions to amateur and high school baseball.
The Team of the Year and Coach of the Year honors, along with the volunteer recognition, are very similar to what the Annapolis Touchdown Club does in football each year. It was a natural for longtime club member Busch to initiate a similar evening for baseball.
"We are trying to promote Anne Arundel County and high school baseball and the people who help make it the best program in Maryland," said Busch, Cannon Committee chairman and Rec and Parks administrator. "The coaches came up with the scholar-athlete idea, and we all think it is a good one, because it gives recognition to the student-athlete who also excels in the classroom."
The scholar dinner is open to the public; tickets are $25 per
person. For information, call Don Brooks, Cannon Stadium supervisor, at 222-6652; Dave Conrad at 647-4880, or Michael's at 768-7901.
If you happen to call Conrad, don't be alarmed by his answering machine message. You may think you reached tryouts for the Arsenio Hall audience, but it's just ol' Dave, who happens to run a disc jockey service.
* There was some concern that a good number of the senior all-stars for tomorrow night's game might have trouble getting back to Cannon Stadium from Salisbury, where the Maryland Team tryouts are being held. But that may be no problem at all.
Several players have changed their minds about trying out for the Maryland Team, which is supposed to play in the Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma.
Each player on the team must pay a $300 fee, because the Maryland Team lost its corporate sponsor.
A lot of guys have decided it's not worth it, and they are probably right. With most of the top players involved with their summer teams, it doesn't make a lot of sense to disrupt those clubs by leaving for a week in midseason and having to pay 300 bucks on top of that.
It's a shame the Maryland Team has no sponsor this year; it's future doesn't look very secure.
* A host of our county baseball players tried out for the Crown All Stars Sunday at Catonsville Community College. Crown chairman Dave Norton, the Mount St. Joseph head coach who lives in Pasadena, says the North and South teams will be announced next week.
"Most of the kids who made [the team] or who were chosen as alternates should have a letter from us" by today, Norton said. "I'm talking to the Orioles about holding a press conference to introduce the Crown All-Stars at Camden Yards next week. We will be notifying the players of that."
Norton said yesterday that the press conference is tentatively set for June 4.
Players from all schools in Maryland, both public and private, are nominated to try out for the Crown Game each year. Two teams, North and South, are selected for the prestigious game. Anne Arundel players selected will play on the South squad.
The game will be played following the Orioles-Kansas City Royals contest at at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
* Severna Park star pitcher/infielder Rob McCandless has committed to Radford College (Va.). Broadneck star shortstop Jeff Vincent may join him.
Vincent has been talking to West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is interested in Radford. Both players just completed outstanding seasons for their teams and are playing on the Severna Park American Legion Team coached by Rob's brother, Jim McCandless.
At the Broadneck Spring Sports Banquet Wednesday, Vincent took Baseball MVP honors for the Bruins. He was the Bruins' MVP and an Anne Arundel County Sun first-teamer in basketball and also first-team All County in soccer.
Vincent set Broadneck baseball career and season records in runs scored (55, 28), hits (75, 31), doubles (20, 8) and stolen bases (40, 18). His four homers this spring was a single-season record, and by knocking in 19 runs, he ran his school record in career RBI to 47.
The slick-fielding shortstop, who was also 4-2 in pitching, batted a solid .437 for the Bruins' Class 4A Region IV runner-up.