Earlier this season, Brian Boteler was hitting about .350. That kind of batting average might make most high school players pretty happy. Not Boteler.
"I just wasn't playing up to my potential at midseason," Boteler said. "I wasn't working hard enough."
So he went to his basement, where his father, George, had set up a batting cage. And they figured out what was wrong with his swing.
"I was out front too much, pulling my head off the ball and standing too open," Boteler said.
To correct that, he closed his stance a bit and bent over a little more.
Now the 6-foot, 200-pound Glenelg junior infielder is batting .510 (26-for-51) with three home runs, seven doubles, 21 RBI and 18 runs. He has walked 13 times and been hit by a pitch twice for an on-base percentage of .621. His slugging average is .824.
"Not since Greg Smith have we had anyone who worked as hard as Brian," Glenelg coach Terry Coleman said. "He's a good role model, and he appreciates all the little things a coach does for the team. He's a nice kid."
Smith is playing for the Chicago Cubs' Triple-A Iowa team.
Boteler said that Coleman has helped him a lot but that his father has contributed the most to his baseball education.
"My father has taught me the most about baseball and has always been able to get me out of a slump," Boteler said. "He refines the finer points of my swing."
Glenelg (12-4, 12-1) won its sixth county championship since 1983 -- and second straight. Glenelg was co-champion last year with Atholton.
Coleman is pleased to have Boteler, who had a chance to attend Calvert Hall, which has an outstanding baseball program.
"I thought it was more beneficial to stay and play ball with my friends," said Boteler, who batted .388 and was first-team all-county last season.
His staying at Glenelg may be part of the reason the chemistry on Glenelg's team is so good.
"We all pull for one another and have great chemistry," Boteler said. "Our hitting is strong throughout the lineup, and lately our defense has been sound. I'm getting much better pitches to hit this season because I have someone like Mike Goldberg hitting behind me."
Boteler bats third, and Goldberg, who bats fourth, has hit five home runs.
Boteler didn't object to giving up his shortstop position to Goldberg midway through the season. Boteler had played third base the past two seasons but tried to switch to shortstop this season. He struggled.
"I'm not really built to play shortstop and prefer to play third base now," Boteler said. "That's the position I'll play in college. It was just that on most teams I've played for I've always played shortstop."
Boteler has had several impressive days at the plate this season. He thinks his best came against Hammond, a 3-for-3 day with a home run and a double.
He was 3-for-4 against North Carroll, a team that is contending with Glenelg for the top seed in the Class 2A, Region I playoffs.
And he went 3-for-4 against Mount Hebron, a team vying for a Class 2A, Region III playoff spot.
He also homered against Atholton and Wilde Lake.
Boteler won't forget the Wilde Lake homer because it came against Nate Casella, a pitcher he thinks was one of the toughest he faced.
"The first time up, I homered off him, and the next time I came up, the bases were loaded," Boteler said. "I could see in his eyes he wasn't going to give up anything to me, and it turned out to be my toughest at-bat this season. He wound up striking me out."
"He comes to play and can really swing the bat," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said. "He's a super player. I like him a lot."
His comment is typical of the respect he receives from opposing coaches. Last season, in the first round of the playoffs, he was twice walked intentionally by Allegany in a game the Gladiators lost.
Boteler hopes Glenelg can advance beyond the first round this season.
After the season, he plans to play for Liberty Road in the Baltimore Metro League. The past two summers, he played for the Dayton Raiders and twice batted over .400.