COACH OF THE YEAR
* Joe Binder, Calvert Hall -- What Calvert Hall has done in the last seven years under Binder has been unmatched in Maryland.
The Cardinals repeated as Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (formerly MSA A Conference) champions, winning their second in a row and sixth conference title in seven years, setting a school record for wins (27-3).
During the incredible run, the Cardinals had an .825 winning percentage, going 160-34 to put Binder's 15-year varsity career record at 306-92 (.769). This year's title was Binder's seventh overall. His first came in 1984.
"We lost Jason Rinehart [who won eight games as a junior] early to an elbow injury, but Andy [Bair, 11-0], Craig Shiel [9-1] and Billy Staub [4-1] stepped up," said Binder, who was Evening Sun Coach of the Year in 1989 and Sun Coach of the Year in 1988.
"This team ranks at the top of the best teams I've had."
Binder, who has been teaching at the Towson school for 26 years, never has been a coach to dodge the competition and has fashioned one of the toughest schedules in the metro area.
The Cardinals served notice early how good they would be when they beat defending state 4A and mythical national champion Arundel, 4-1, in its Easter Tournament Championship.
They dealt All-Metro pitcher Brandon Agamennone his first loss in two years.
Calvert Hall followed that by barnstorming through the Cincinnati area, reeling off five straight wins and outscoring its opponents, 52-7.
There were also victories over Riverdale Baptist of Prince George's County and defending state 2A champion Glenelg.
It was the first loss of the season for Riverdale Baptist (33-4), then ranked No. 1 by The Washington Post.
Calvert Hall (4-0 against perennial contender Mount St. Joseph) lost twice to Gilman and once to McDonogh in the MIAA playoffs before coming back to avenge those defeats.
"That was our biggest test, the toughest part of my job, making sure that we stay on the fine edge with everybody shooting for us," said Binder.
"When you are used to winning, you have to make sure complacency doesn't set in, and continue to push every game."
Calvert Hall again pushed its way to the top as the class of the metro area and was ranked No. 23 in the nation by both USA Today and Baseball America.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
* Andy Bair, Calvert Hall -- Bair had the kind of season every player dreams about having.
After a brilliant fall season with the Oriolelanders, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound left-hander emerged as a blue-chipper for the Cardinals this spring, going 11-0 with 123 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.
Intimidating with his size, intensity and probably the best arm in the area, Bair led Calvert Hall to a repeat MIAA title with an ERA of 0.82.
Bair threw the school's first perfect game in coach Binder's 26 years with the Cardinals, 3-0 over McDonogh.
He was simply overpowering with his blazing fastball, back-breaking curve and nasty changeup, striking out 14 and throwing only 84 pitches. Only once did he go to a 3-2 count, and a bunt down the third-base line on a 1-2 count to Richie Levin leading off the seventh was the nearest thing to a hit. Bair pounced on it and threw out Levin by a step.
"Bair was hitting the spot and it was the best game I've had the privilege of working in some 20 years," said home plate umpire Bob Nykyforchyn.
It was the second of three wins over MIAA runner-up McDonogh for Bair, who also played first base or designated hitter and batted .375 with four homers and 17 RBIs.
Bair, who the scouts say should be a high draft choice in 1995, is one of only three Marylanders and the only junior named to the East Region 17-18 team that will play in the USA Olympic Festival this summer.
Players on four region teams will vie for a berth on the USA Junior National Team in Busch Stadium, St. Louis, from July 2-11. Competitors move on to Tyler, Texas, and from there the final team will play in early August in Toronto's Skydome. Bair has an excellent chance of making the final team.
THE FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Brandon Agamennone, Arundel, Sr., Pitcher -- The lone repeater on this year's team, Agamennone capped a 21-4 three-year varsity career by pitching the Wildcats (21-3) to the state 4A final. Because of the state pitching rules, Agamennone came out after six innings holding a 2-0 lead over Perry Hall, which pulled out the game to win the title, 5-2, in eight innings.
The slender right-hander finished the season 8-2 with one save, an ERA of 1.52, 105 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 82 2/3 innings. Anne Arundel County's Player of the Year also hit .309 with six doubles, three homers and 18 RBIs playing third base or center field when not pitching.
* Dave Hudson, Centennial, Sr., Pitcher -- Named Howard County's Player of the Year, Hudson led his team to the region final, going 9-2 with eight complete games, four shutouts (including a 1-0 one-hitter over Broadneck in the 3A East Region semifinals) and an ERA of 0.75. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out 111 in 75 innings and gave up only 41 hits and 27 walks. Headed for Ohio State, Hudson played shortstop when he wasn't pitching and batted .383 with eight doubles, four triples, two homers and 18 RBIs.
* Jesse Moore, Perry Hall, Sr., Pitcher -- Moore pitched seven strong innings to notch the state 4A final victory over Arundel, 5-2, in eight innings and posted an 11-0 record for the Gators (19-3). The four-hit state-title victory came only two days after Moore had thrown a three-hitter and struck out 12 to blank Bowie in the state semifinals. A 6-foot-7 right-hander, Moore struck out 78 in 70 innings for the Gators, had a no-hitter against Woodlawn in the regular season and finished with an ERA of 0.56.
* Peter Bogue, Gilman, Sr., Catcher -- This lanky catcher, who is headed to Yale, was clearly the Greyhounds' leader. Coach Marty Meloy called him "a complete player," and Bogue's numbers more than support that claim. Bogue hit .433 with 25 RBIs, 26 runs scored, two doubles, three triples and four homers and was safe stealing on 17 of 18 attempts. He threw out 15 of 23 runners trying to steal and committed only one error. The miscue came in Gilman's last game.
* Jason White, Chesapeake-AA, Sr., First Base -- For two years, this left-hander practically carried the Cougars on his back. This season Chesapeake (13-7) missed the playoffs by a game, but not because of MVP White, who hit .452 with 20 RBIs, eight doubles, two triples and two homers. He did not commit an error. Second-team All-Metro as a pitcher last spring, White was 5-4 (two losses to Arundel, one to Old Mill) with two shutouts, two one-hitters, 87 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.69 in 62 innings. He is being recruited by UMBC, UNC-Greensboro, Maryland, Towson State and James Madison.
* Ian Hendricks, McDonogh, Sr., Second Base -- Speedy, quick and smooth, this middle infielder led the Eagles to the state Private School title after a runner-up spot in the MIAA. Hendricks, son of the Orioles' veteran bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, batted .421, scored 24 runs, knocked in 12 runs, and had five doubles, two triples and eight stolen bases. A member of the Oriolelanders' select fall team, Hendricks committed only three errors in his third and final year as a varsity starter. Hendricks will attend St. Andrews in Laurenberg, N.C.
* Brad Schulze, South Carroll, Sr., Third Base -- Much of South Carroll's success must be attributed to the hitting and pitching of Schulze. The third baseman-pitcher rewrote the team's record book in hitting. He hit .485 (32-for-66) with 25 RBIs, 25 runs scored, three doubles, four homers and 19 stolen bases. Schulze only struck out eight times, had an on-base percentage of .534 and a .697 slugging percentage. On the mound, Schulze was 4-2 with one save and an ERA of 1.78.
* Charles Wilhelm, Poly, Sr., Shortstop -- After a brilliant junior year that featured seven doubles and three homers, Wilhelm went out in style with a metro-area-leading .596 batting average. Called "the best athlete I've ever coached" by Mark Schlenoff, a veteran of 25 years at two schools, Wilhelm had 26 RBIs, 27 runs, eight doubles, five homers and seven stolen bases. An All-Baltimore County-City Player two years in a row, Wilhelm had only two errors in his third year as the Engineers' starting shortstop.
* Liam Healy, Calvert Hall, Sr., Outfield -- Healy, who also played third base for the top-ranked Cardinals, batted .442 and tied the state record for RBIs (46) set by Dave Tripp of Mount St. Joe in 1987. The state public-school record is 45 by Don Shump of Northeast (1991). Healy also tied Scott Neuberger for the metro-area lead in homers (seven), had eight doubles and two triples and scored 25 runs.
* Mandell Marsh, Perry Hall, Sr., Outfield -- Good things happened for the Gators when this speed demon reached base. Marsh batted .448 for the state 4A champs, stealing all 26 times he attempted (eight in the playoffs), scoring 31 runs (10 in the playoffs) and knocking in 15 (five in postseason) from his leadoff position. He struck out only twice, walked 19 times and had two each in doubles, triples and homers (only ones hit by team). Like his older brother, Roy, who has gone on to star at Ohio State, Marsh tracked down many a deep shot to center field with his speed and instincts.
* Scott Neuberger, Severna Park, Jr., Outfield -- Jim Pitt, the former Atlantic Coast Conference batting champion for the University of Maryland who coaches the Falcons, said Neuberger "is the best hitter" he has had in his 25 years of coaching. Neuberger led Anne Arundel County in average at .578 (37-for-64), runs scored (32) and homers (seven). A pro prospect, the speedy outfielder also had seven doubles, three triples, 20 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and one of the top arms in the metro area.
* Brian Taylor, C.M. Wright, Sr., Designated hitter -- Harford County's most feared hitter, Taylor played first and caught. He batted .542 with a league-leading 33 RBIs, tying the state record of 10 in a game against North Harford. The 6-foot-3 and 190-pound Taylor, who will attend Harford Community College, led the county in hits (39) and scored 26 runs in 20 games.
PICKING THE TEAM
The 1994 All-Metro baseball team was selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with staff writers and area coaches.