Off to a 5-0 start, the Randallstown Rams of coach Dave Wright are making some noise among the Baltimore County Class 3A teams lumped together in the North Region.
Randallstown is in the same region with defending State 3A champion Lansdowne, Dundalk, Patapsco and undefeated C. Milton Wright (6-0) of Harford County.
Obviously a good team is going to get left out of the four-team region playoffs.
Wright won a State Class B (now 2A) title at Milford Mill in 1984 (15-4) with Sun Player of the Year Jimmy Smith, a pitcher/outfielder, leading the way and a second-team All-Metro junior third baseman by the name of Brian Jordan.
Jordan would be All-Metro first team his senior year in 1985 and currently is playing with the St. Louis Cardinals. He had a brief career in the NFL.
So, Wright, whose coaching career began at Baltimore Poly, knows a player when he sees one and thinks his Rams have a mix similar to his Milford Mill powers of the 1980s.
Randallstown was 9-8 a year ago, but junior pitchers Shilo Merwitz and Brian Ward and the hitting of sophomore third baseman Todd Pinson and junior outfielder Brandon Thomas have him optimistic.
"We're young, but should be in the thick of things because these kids have played together for a while," said Wright.
A loser of its first game by 7-0 to Dulaney and Steve Wieczynski (four-hitter) on Friday, Patapsco (3-1) is expected to welcome back its top player, pitcher/shortstop Jerry Vecchioni, this week.
"Jerry has been practicing with the team and should be eligible to start playing this week," said Vecchioni's father, Jerry Sr.
Defending State 2A champion Glenelg (3-1) is back with the heavy artillery that had been under the weather, dampened by inactivity.
The Gladiators' calling card last year was their hitting attack, but until Friday's 17-2 rout of Mount Hebron (6-2), it had sputtered through a series of rainouts.
Mike Goldberg's first-inning grand slam seemed to ignite Glenelg and that could be bad news for Howard County foes. Glenelg had 18 hits.
"We needed to break out, and we're going to hit like this the rest of the way," said Goldberg, who was 3-for-5 with six RBIs and struck out six in two innings of relief Friday.
Brian Boteler went 5-for-5, Kevin Curtin 4-for-4, and Ray Sullivan was 3-for-6. Each had two RBIs.
"I think we have a better hitting club than last year," said Goldberg.
Last year, the Gladiators hit .370 as a team and most of their big hitters are back, including Goldberg and Boteler, each of whom was All-Metro.
Coach Terry Coleman's Gladiators play host at 3:45 p.m. today to Thomas Johnson (8-0) of Frederick. Thomas Johnson is a 3A contender and has been ranked in the Maryland state coaches poll most of the season.
After today, Glenelg has three league games this week, and the Calvert Hall-at-Glenelg game, rained out March 28, has been rescheduled for 3:45 p.m. next Monday .
Crucial AA doubleheader
Old Mill (6-1) is the only unbeaten team in the Anne Arundel County 4A League. Arundel (6-2) has one league loss, which came Monday by 4-1 to North County.
Old Mill visits Chesapeake (4-2) on Wednesday with both teams getting a shot at a crucial doubleheader victory. On March 31, the teams were tied 6-6 after seven innings when the game called because of darkness.
Wednesday, they will finish the tie and, if it doesn't go too far, play the regularly scheduled game.
Chesapeake coach Jim Simms is expected to re-enter his ace Jason White as pitcher in the continuation of the tie and Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery has a few options. It may not be easy to score a run and settle the tie.
In two appearances last week, White, who had a one-hitter to shut out Broadneck, 3-0, on Friday, had 22 strikeouts in 12 innings. Ken Pumphrey, Mike Bussey and Jeff Haynie sparkled on the mound for Old Mill last week.
Around the horn
Archbishop Spalding's freshman right-hander, Jared Vogt (1-4), who won 19 games for the Little Orioles' 14-and-under team last summer, savored his first varsity win this week on a nine-hitter with 10 strikeouts to stop Loyola, 7-6. . . . Doesn't it figure that the first loss for Calvert Hall and its ace Andy Bair would be to Bair's summer team (Putty Hill) coach Marty Meloy and his Gilman Greyhounds by 7-6?
Meloy said he didn't think his team, 6-0, was that good. . . . Arundel (6-2) stole 11 bases in its 18-7 romp over Southern-AA (3-2) Friday. . . . Don't be impressed by those huge offensive numbers (five, six homers a game) coming out of Annapolis home games -- the Panthers are having their field renovated and are playing their home games on a Crownsville field with 250-foot fences.
The 10 RBIs by Brian Taylor (5-for-6) in undefeated C. Milton Wright's 23-5 rout of North Harford Friday ties the state record set by Rob Bodnar of Chesapeake-AA in 1985. . . . Taylor's five hits also tie a state record.
Quote of the Week
Essex Community College baseball coach George Henderson on 81-year-old Walter Youse, who runs the Corrigan's defending national champion 20-and-under team: "Walter reminds me of that rabbit on the battery commercial -- he just keeps on going and going and going."
NOTE: If you have any tidbits on current or former high school baseball players, please call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline, (410) 647-2499.