Preseason baseball Top 15


1 McDonogh (1-0) -- With the Baltimore Sun's 1992 Player of the Year, pitcher/shortstop Kenny Cloude (13-1, .429), back for his senior year along with 12 returnees, including junior second baseman Ian Hendricks (Elrod's son) from the MSA A Conference Championship team, coach Al Poklemba's Eagles will be tough to beat. The team just returned home from Florida where it got rained on five days and played one game, a win over a team from New Jersey. Last year: (record) 20-7; (ranking): No. 3.

2 Old Mill -- Anne Arundel County is loaded with pitching, but the Patriots may have the best in southpaw Lee Haney (6-1), and NTC two hard-throwing juniors in Kenny Pumphrey and Mike Bussey. Seventeen players return from last year. Last year: 13-7, No. 10.

3 Calvert Hall -- Looks like another typical powerhouse season for coach Joe "Snooky" Binder with All-Metro first baseman/pitcher Brian Matz (.444, 8-2) and third baseman/pitcher Larry Marino (.423, 29 RBI). Last year: 19-8, No. 4.

4 Arundel -- With two Mizuno-Baseball America preseason Honorable Mention All-Americans -- senior first baseman/pitcher Tim Giles (.400, 29 RBI) and junior shortstop Jeff Hedrick (.454) -- among 14 returnees, coach Bernie Walter's Wildcats will be out to defend their Class 4A, Region IV title. Last year: 17-6, No. 5.

5 Severna Park -- Despite losing a couple of All-Met performers, coach Jim Pitt returns 15 players including the area's premier catcher in John Milisitz (.508, 20 RBI), who is a Mizuno-Baseball America preseason Honorable Mention All-American. The Falcons also have a pair of outstanding senior right-handers in John Ritter (7-2) and Byron Druzgal (4-0). Last year: 17-3, No. 9.

6 Lansdowne -- Call it "The Year of the Vikings." After finishing as the state 3A runner-up last spring, the team's top four pitchers -- seniors Josh Benson (RHP), Randy Musgrove (RHP) and Brian Sullivan (LHP) and junior Bobby Wheelton (RHP) are back. The seniors have been 17-0 since their freshman year. Last year: 17-5, No. 13.

7 Northeast -- Add left-handed Glen Burnie transfer Ed Nalley to an already imposing right-handed duo of Chris Kelly and Wayne Hudson (each 6-1 last season) and the Eagles have a realistic shot at a third straight state Class 2A title if the infield develops. The Eagles' pitchers throw a lot of ground balls. Last year: 18-5, No. 6.

8 Cardinal Gibbons -- After a down year, coach Rod Cameron is predicting this to be his best team since the Crusaders' 1985 MSA A Conference champion, which went 19-3 and was ranked No. 1. Gibbons returns seven starters, three of them senior pitchers in right-handers Carl Baker and Eric Rigatuso, and lefty Jeremy Shutt. Last year: 9-15, unranked.

9 Loyola -- Here's another MSA A Conference upstart in the Dons, who boast a senior at every position with Tom Dugas and Eric Frankovic on the mound and shortstop Chris Marshall set to anchor the infield. This should be Loyola's best club since the 1977 division champion. Last year: 13-10, unranked.

10 Perry Hall -- It's a rebuilding year for the defending state 4A champion Gators of Larry Butts, The Baltimore Sun's 1992 Coach of the Year. There are only two returning starters -- outfielder Mandell Marsh and infielder Jeff Burrows. But don't feel sorry for Butts, who has gone 59-3 over the last three years, including two undefeated state championship seasons (1990 and 1992). He always finds a way to win. Last year: 21-0, No. 1.

11 Mount St. Joseph -- Hit hard by graduation, including All-Met outfielder Rick Braitsch (.442), the Gaels are hoping that last year's JV MVP Steve Matcuk (7-1) can succeed as the No. 2 pitcher behind senior RHP Ben Daniels (5-3). The Gaels should be in the thick of the MSA A Conference race and the addition of Patterson transfer DH Buddy Edmond (.467, 20 RBI) should help. Last year: 15-7, No. 7.

12 Edgewood -- Here is Harford County's sleeper with returning All-County performers (LHP) Wade Greason (3-4) and outfielder-pitcher Jamie Coons back for their final season after sparkling in the fall with the Oriolelanders team. Greason and Coons should lead Edgewood into the playoffs. Last year: 7-11, unranked.

13 Glenelg -- With returning All-county junior third baseman Brian Boteler and senior right-hander Jeff Lewis, plus a couple of promising sophomores in shortstop/pitcher Mike Goldberg and catcher Mike Deming, coach Terry Coleman may have the team to beat in Howard County. Last year: 12-6, unranked

14 Westminster -- Pro prospect Todd Dorsey (.400), a senior outfielder and another Oriolelander, and senior catcher Adam Pfieffer (.335) give the Owls two returning All-County Carroll County players to form quite a nucleus with talented three-sport athlete, Brad Gibson, the shortstop. Last year: 14-6, unranked

15 (tie) North County -- Coach Don Usewick's Knights rank as Anne Arundel County's sleeper for a playoff spot because of their four-deep pitching staff of senior right-handers Joe York and T.J. Hall; sophomore right-hander Mike Wooden and junior southpaw Bob Christopher. The four returnees also play other positions and will be top hitters. Last year: 6-14, unranked.

How the poll is conducted: The 1993 Preseason Top 15 was selected by Pat O'Malley. Throughout the season the Top 15 will be selected each week by a panel of writers and high school baseball coaches. It will appear each Monday.

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