Patapsco's Vecchioni rated top East Coast SS

Patapsco senior shortstop Jerry Vecchioni received a rare honor this month.

In the January publication distributed by Team One, an Ohio- based organization which ranks high school baseball players nationally, the senior infielder is ranked No. 1 among shortstops on the East Coast and 17th among all middle infielders in the country.


Vecchioni, 17, who missed part of last year due to academic ineligibility, signed a national letter of intent in December accepting a full baseball scholarship to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

The program, which plays in the west division of the Sunbelt Conference, was ranked nationally last year by a variety of publications. Lamar's coach has assured Vecchioni of a starting position, said Patapsco coach Dave Engle.


"It's rare you get a kid ranked No. 1 on the East Coast, especially out of this school," said Engle. "It's nice to get the attention, and I think he's deserving."

Vecchioni, 6 feet 2, 185 pounds, has spent one fall season with the Little Orioles and the last two fall seasons with the Oriolanders, a select team of the top high school players from the Mid-Atlantic area as chosen by Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert.

He also had an excellent summer with the Bedoins, runners-up in the Baltimore Metro League, hitting over .440 and helping them as both a right-handed pitcher and shortstop. The Bedoins reached the Connie Mack 18-and-under World Series.

"I think my summer success had a lot to do with it. I think I proved I could play good caliber of baseball and compete with some of the best," said Vecchioni.

Soon, he was getting looks from scouts from a number of professional organizations, including the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, Montreal Expos, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.

"I didn't think I had a good junior year," said Vecchioni. "But after the summer, major-league and college teams started to become interested."

Patapsco is 40-8 with Vecchioni in the lineup, including two playoff appearances. Vecchioni's career batting average at Patapsco is .378 with 68 RBIs, his fielding percentage is .978 and, as a pitcher, he is 8-1 with a 1.20 ERA.

"He's obviously one of the smoothest players and fielders I've ever seen," said Engle, entering his fifth year as coach this spring. "He hits the ball with authority. His batting average isn't the full tale about how he can hit."


AP records set

The Baltimore area established two firsts on this year's Associated Press Prep Football Consensus All-State team.

First, it became the first area to sweep top honors with the Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Tommy Polley of Dunbar; the Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Bobby Sabelhaus of McDonogh; and the Coach of the Year, Mike Working of Mount St. Joseph.

Second, the election of four Dunbar members to the team is a record, and McDonogh's three ties DeMatha's record of a year ago.

Joining Polley on the consensus team were Dunbar running back Reggie Boyce and Dunbar defensive linemen Carl Carter and Shamai Butler. All four were All-Metro picks by The Baltimore Sun.

Sabelhaus was joined by McDonogh wide receiver Dennis Badham and McDonogh defensive back Dwayne Stukes. All three were two-time All-Metro picks.


Friends on the move

It was a first, said Friends athletic director Peter DeSmit.

Friday night, during halftime of the Quakers' boys basketball game with visiting Curley, concern over an apparent ceiling leak caused the game -- tied at the half -- and the "three or four hundred fans" to be moved into the adjacent girls' gymnasium.

"We were concerned that water was on the floor and that players could be injured," said DeSmit. "Not being able to determine the circumstances, we felt it was safer to move the game from one facility to another. We simply had everyone walk the 20 feet to the girls' gym."

Upon further inspection, however, "We discovered it was a leak, but it wasn't a leak," DeSmit said.

"The pipes in the ceiling run outside and back into the building," said DeSmit. "Because of that configuration and the bad weather outside, the pipes were sweating [dripping condensation.]"


Curley ended up winning the game.

"I guess you could say the move was more beneficial to Curley," said DeSmit.