COACH OF THE YEAR
* Jim Pitt, Severna Park -- Pitt called his 21st season at Severna Park and 25th overall (325-189, .632) in the county (four years at Annapolis), his "most enjoyable." Pitt, a former Atlantic Coast Conference batting champion at the University of Maryland, who went on to play and coach in the Minnesota Twins farm system, led the Falcons to a 12-7 record and berth in the Class 4A East Region playoffs.
"We did better than I anticipated because we knew we would hit [school-record .382 as a team], but our pitching was a surprise," said Pitt, whose "pitching by committee" got the Falcons to postseason.
Sophomore Scott Vane (6-2) and junior Bill Erskine (4-1) were the two mainstays of the most inexperienced pitching staff Pitt has ever had.
"Coach Pitt is kind of laid-back, but still intense, knows when to get tough with us," said three-year starting outfielder Mike Fleming.
The Falcons lost in the 4A East Region semis to Old Mill, 9-2.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Mike Bronakoski, Glen Burnie, Sr., infield -- Bronakoski was the Gophers' leading hitter at .446 (25-for-56) and also led the team in RBIs (16) and tied for the doubles lead (seven). Primarily a third baseman and three-year starter, Bronakoski, the team's scholar-athlete with his 3.6 GPA, also was an effective relief pitcher.
* Mike Fleming, Severna Park, Sr., outfield -- Fleming, a three-year starting center fielder, anchored what coach Pitt said was "the best outfield we've ever had." The speedy Fleming, who may attend Anne Arundel Community College, hit .371 (23-for-62) with 18 runs scored and 17 RBIs. Fleming had two doubles, two triples, four homers and six stolen bases while batting third.
* Jeff Hedrick, Arundel, Sr., infield -- Hedrick, one of only three Marylanders named to the East Region 17-18 team for July's USA Olympic Festival at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, hit .365 for the state 4A runner-up. The Wildcat starting shortstop over the last three years knocked in 18 runs, had five doubles, a triple and three homers, including the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth to nip Old Mill, 2-1, in the East Region final.
* Chris Johnson, Annapolis, Sr., catcher -- After an injury-plagued junior season, Johnson was an All-County defensive back in football and stayed healthy in the spring as a bright spot in the Panthers' 3-15 season. Johnson hit .490 with 16 RBIs, seven doubles, two homers, two triples and five stolen bases. An outstanding athlete, Johnson, who will attend either AACC or Prince George's Community College, was 1-2 with an ERA of 2.75 as a pitcher.
* Scott Neuberger, Severna Park, Jr., outfield -- One of only two juniors on the first team, Neuberger is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Steve, who was All-Metro in '92 and has played two seasons at the University of Maryland. Neuberger, who coach Pitt calls "maybe the best hitter I've ever coached," batted .578 (37-for-64) with county-leading totals in homers (seven) and runs scored (32). An excellent outfielder with an arm that makes him a pro prospect along with his bat, Neuberger knocked in 20 runs, had seven doubles and three triples and stole 12 bases.
* J.P. Noon, Arundel, Sr., DH-first base -- Noon was the Wildcats' big gun offensively. Noon hit .444 (36-for-81) and led the county champs in RBIs (29, led county), homers (four) and doubles (nine, also tops in county) and had one triple.
* Ken Pumphrey, Old Mill, Sr., pitcher -- The county's top high school baseball prospect (rated No. 77 in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects) because of his consistent 86-89-mph fastball and 6-foot-5 frame, Pumphrey was 7-2 for the region runner-up Patriots, including a 9-2 two-hitter with eight strikeouts over Severna Park in the region semis. Pumphrey, second-team All-County in '93, struck out 85 in 51 1/3 innings, walked 27, gave up 52 hits and posted an ERA of 2.59. Pumphrey was drafted yesterday in the fourth round by the New York Mets.
* Wade Rolocut, Arundel, Sr., outfield/pitcher -- Rolocut was a key player in the Wildcats' run to the state final, contributing with his bat and pitching ability. The regular center fielder hit .414 (36-for-87), scoring 25 runs, driving in 16, and had five doubles, a triple, one homer and 11 stolen bases. On the mound, Rolocut was No. 2 behind Agamennone and went 4-0 with several no decisions (including region and state semifinal victories) and one save. His ERA was 1.63 in 60 innings with 41 hits, 24 walks and 60 strikeouts.
* Sean Ryan, Broadneck, Sr., pitcher -- Ryan was the Bruins' MVP in his final two seasons, and 14-4 overall, including 8-3 with two saves this spring for a team that went 22-17 during his junior and senior years. Ryan struck out 87 in 60 innings, walked 25 and boasted an ERA of 1.98. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, who also played shortstop and hit .382 (21-for-55) with five doubles and 10 RBIs, has committed to UMBC after a three-year career in three sports (also quarterbacked football team and played basketball).
* Jason White, Chesapeake, Sr., first base/LHP -- White was clearly the county's top left-handed pitcher. His pitching, hitting and fielding at first base earned him first-team honors a second straight year. White was 5-4 for the 13-7 Cougars who missed the playoffs by a game and three of his losses were to Arundel (2) and Old Mill. He struck out 87 in 62 innings and boasted an ERA of 1.69. White hit .452 (28-for-62) with 20 RBIs, seven doubles, two triples and two homers and was the only Cougar among the county's leading hitters.
* Ryan Wood, Old Mill, Sr., infield -- Moving from third base to shortstop his senior year, Wood anchored the Patriots' infield and led them to the 4A East Region final and an overall 16-6 record. The move was a risky one by coach Mel Montgomery, but Wood made it look good. Wood, who is quick with a great arm, hit .365 (23-for-63) with 18 runs scored, 16 RBIs, 16 stolen bases, six doubles and four homers.
* Mike Wooden, North County, Jr., pitcher -- Last year, Wooden, who is one of four repeaters (others are Agamennone, Hedrick and White), made it as a third baseman (batted .283 this year with 12 RBIs), but his clutch pitching this spring gave the Knights (13-8) their first playoff berth in their four-year history. Pitching varsity since his freshman season, Wooden had a 2.05 ERA and was 4-2 (55 strikeouts in 41 innings, only eight walks), including the county's first perfect game in 20 years by 2-0 over Old Mill and a 4-1 victory over Arundel. Both his losses were to playoff teams in Arundel and Severna Park and he held Arundel (( at bay in the region semis, leaving after seven innings and a 1-1 tie (Knights lost, 2-1, in eighth) in his first start after missing over two weeks with a sprained muscle in his back.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
* Brandon Agamennone, Arundel -- Agamennone put Arundel in position to repeat as state 4A champions.
The right-hander, who has great command of four pitches (fastball, slider, curve and split finger), spun a three-hitter with two walks and eight strikeouts to stop Old Mill, 2-1, in the East Region final on May 23, two days after delivering the game-winning hit in the eighth to nip North County, 2-1, in the semis.
Coach Bernie Walter called on Agamennone to get the final out in the state semis on May 24, and he struck out the last batter with the tying run on second to preserve a 5-4 victory over Watkins Mill.
Three days later he was back on the hill, blanking Perry Hall through six innings of the state 4A final before leaving after pitching the maximum 14 innings allowed for the week. Arundel (21-3) had a 2-0 lead when he left and needed only three outs to repeat. But Perry Hall won, 5-2, in eight innings.
Agamennone, who has been accepted at the University of Maryland but has not officially signed, finished 8-2, with one save, and a 1.52 ERA (18 earned runs) in 82 2/3 innings. He struck out 105 and walked only 13 while giving up just 52 hits. In his three-year career he went 21-4 with five saves.
When he wasn't pitching, Agamennone either played center field or third base flawlessly. He hit .309 (26-for-84) with six doubles, a triple, three homers and 18 RBIs. One of his homers was a grand slam to edge Glen Burnie, 8-6.