This week should tell Archbishop Spalding's veteran baseball coach Tom Lind if his team's fast start is deceiving or a sign of good times ahead.
Lind's Cavaliers are 2-0, just missing win No. 3 on Thursday, as they head into a crucial week in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.
Spalding (8-9 overall last spring) is home tomorrow and Wednesday against No. 7 Mount St. Joseph (3-0) and No. 15 Gilman (3-1), respectively, and visits No. 2 McDonogh (2-0) on Friday.
The Cavaliers were down 2-0 Thursday going into the top of the sixth at Archbishop Curley (2-0), but rallied for four runs on just one hit (by catcher Kurt Cadaret) to take the lead. The Friars answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning and the game was suspended because of darkness.
"We had six kids on retreat during the week and they didn't show up until 3:30 [3:45 p.m. game time], and they had not practiced all week," said Lind, who is in his fifth season as head coach.
"They had to go right back to retreat after the game and my regular second baseman, Mike Angelo, was at the dentist and didn't show. So, it was a pretty good effort under the circumstances."
Curley scored its initial two runs in the first inning when Spalding's starting pitcher Dominic Lascola walked six batters.
"Dominic usually has good control, but it was cold, and he had trouble throwing strikes," said Lind of his senior right-hander who scattered six hits and struck out nine in the Cavs' second win by 9-5 over Pallotti of Laurel on Monday.
Lind replaced Lascola after four innings with Brad Mosher, who had a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts in a 13-2 season-opening triumph over Park School.
Mosher retired the Friars with no trouble in the fifth, but also ran into control problems in the bottom of the sixth, walking two and giving up a two-out hit that tied the game.
"The hit hit the ground inches in front of our center fielder, Rick McKeldin, who dove for the ball," said Lind. "We got the next out and the game was suspended and will be finished when they come to Spalding in a couple weeks."
Lind is pleased with his team's record, but is concerned about hitting. The Cavaliers had three hits against Park School but took advantage of 18 walks to score 13 runs.
In the Pallotti victory, the Cavaliers had 10 hits with freshman infielder Brendan Mannix doubling in a couple of runs, but it was back to just three hits against Curley.
"I kid the guys once in awhile telling them that if I ran across home plate, they couldn't hit me," Lind said. "But they're good kids working hard and hopefully the hitting will get better. It will have to this week if we are to have a chance."
Most MIAA observers concede three of the four A Conference playoff berths to top-ranked and defending champion Calvert Hall, McDonogh and Mount St. Joseph. Lind is hoping his team will play well enough to beat out Gilman, Loyola and Curley for the final spot.
Spalding last made the playoffs in 1992 when the league was the Maryland Scholastic Association. The Cavaliers went 12-11 that season, losing to Calvert Hall in the first round and Lind was named the Baltimore Sun Anne Arundel County Coach of the Year.
"We had a couple really good hitters that season in Pat Calabrese and Jeff Paxson," said Lind of his two former All-County players.
Calabrese, who hit .508 in '92, is playing his third year at UNC-Greensboro, and Paxson, a .422 hitter his junior year of '92, is in his second season at Towson State. They led Lind's team into the A Conference playoffs for only the second time in school history.
After dominating the C Conference, winning championships in 1981, 1982 and 1985 (21-4, school's best season) under coach Domenic Pachence, the Cavaliers stepped up to the A in 1986 and went 2-13. The next season, Pachence led them to an 11-9 record and their first playoff berth and No. 15 ranking in the Baltimore Sun's final poll.
That season ended with another loss to Calvert Hall in the first round.
Right-handed pitcher Dennis Wiseman, who was Anne Arundel County Co-Player of the Year in 1985 with Old Mill teammate outfielder/pitcher Lou Holcomb, had his frustrating bid make it to the big leagues apparently end.
Attempting to make the majors after toiling six years in the minors, Wiseman was released as a replacement player by the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. Wiseman had gone from Old Mill to a record-setting career at Florida International before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1989.
Wiseman got to AAA Louisville with the Cardinals before being released last season and hooking up with the independent Northern League.