Pugliese reaches a peak and stays there for the summer


Alex Pugliese has experienced mountains and valleys in his young baseball career.

This summer was one of the mountains. The right-handed

pitcher has had a terrific 9-2 season for one of the country's big-name amateur baseball teams, Corrigan's Insurance (formerly Johnny's).

Corrigan's, a 20-and-under team, plays in the Baltimore Major League and is a perennial contender for the All-American Amateur Baseball Association national championship. Many pros have played for Corrigan's, including Reggie Jackson.

Pugliese was scheduled to pitch yesterday at 1 p.m. at Spring Grove against The Reds in a makeup game. That game was expected to decide the Friday Night League title and a berth in the AAABA tournament held annually in Johnstown, Pa.

Corrigan's was unbeaten in that league. Corrigan, a former Atholton High School star, even pitched a no-hitter this summer against the Reds, a team that features many county players. That game was halted prematurely after five innings due to a 10-run slaughter rule.

One of the mainstays on The Reds pitching staff has been Ryan Clark of Ellicott City, who was scheduled to pitch against Corrigan yesterday.

Not only has Pugliese had a great sum mer of baseball, he also sorted out his future in the sport.

For the past two seasons he's struggled in what he considered a subpar baseball program at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The former coach of that team, fired after last season, had the worst won-loss record of any Division I college coach.

Rather than stay at a program that will be in a rebuilding stage for a couple of years, Pugliese will transfer to the University of Delaware next year. Everything seems to be coming together for the player who set the single-season state strikeout record his senior year at Atholton.

* Pugliese's former Atholton teammate, Jason Mills, has had a valley sort of summer.

After pitching well at a Florida Marlins pro tryout two weeks ago at Joe Cannon Stadium, Mills pitched a game that same night for the Reds 20-and-under team. Then he pitched again the following morning for the Reds and came up with a sore shoulder.

Mills, who pitches for East Carolina University, was among 350 players at the Marlins tryout, and was among 40 selected to return the next day for another look. But he was unable to return because of the sore shoulder.

Mills, 3-3 at the time, quit the Reds and has rehabilitated his shoulder for the past two weeks. He's hoping that Corrigan's may pick him up for the AAABA tourney if it gets a berth.

* The Columbia Reds 16-and-under team finished second in the state Dizzy Dean Tournament, losing to the Harford Sox (Blue) in the championship game.

The Reds were 20-23 overall and 16-21 in the Baltimore Metro League, finishing in seventh place among 14 teams.

The leaders on the Reds were pitcher Shane Beaver (Atholton), first baseman Matt Noon (Oakland Mills), center fielder Derek Schneider, catcher Ryan Schneider (Atholton) and John Kozora (Glenelg).

The Reds finished strong in the final three weeks, after losing a bunch of one-run games early in the season for coaches Larry Thompson, Jim Mowder, Paul Donovan and John Lopez Jr.

* Steve Sclafani, another former Atholton High star, is having a good summer for the Winchester Royals in the Shenandoah Valley League, an NCAA-affiliated Summer League.

The University of Pennsylvania second baseman is batting .305. He was around hitting .350 until he injured an ankle.

Sclafani starts for Winchester, which is 24-14 and tied for the league lead with Harrisonburg. His 18 RBI are third on the team and he has nine steals.

A switch-hitter for most of his career, Sclafani is batting strictly right-handed now and feels much more confident at the plate. At Penn last spring, he batted .321 and made only four errors.

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