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Edgewood's Mister, Cephalis know the pitch


Rob Mister has faced a multitude of batters since first taking the mound as a 7-year-old in the Harford County rec leagues.

Edgewood's senior right-hander has seen a variety of players step in the batter's box against him in the past decade, but the guy crouched behind the plate waiting to receive his pitches always has been the same.

Mister and his steadfast catcher, John Cephalis, compose one battery that has passed the test of time.

And they're still going strong.

Both have been on the Rams varsity baseball team since their freshman year and both have visions of closing out their high school careers with a victory in the Class 2A state championship.

"I've been catching Rob since I was 8 years old and I don't mind it because he never throws anything in the dirt and he never makes me work too hard," said Cephalis, who has caught 51 straight games for Edgewood.

"He's always around the plate, and even if he gives up a couple of runs early, he still keeps his composure. His pitches are coming in a lot stronger now, but his delivery hasn't changed much over the years and he's never been afraid of the batter."

After getting limited playing time as freshmen, Mister and Cephalis worked their way into the starting lineup as sophomores and both have started ever since.

As a sophomore, Mister, who also plays shortstop, proved his worth to the team and showed that he wasn't intimidated on the mound or at the plate.

That year, Mister batted .464, drove in a team-high 27 runs, hit a school-record 12 doubles, was second in the county with hits with 30 and was selected to the All-County team as a utility player.

Last season, Mister didn't have Jamie Coons, the 1993 Player of the Year, hitting in front of him and his numbers dropped.

"With Jamie on base all the time, pitchers had to throw Rob fastballs and he feasted on them," said Edgewood coach Kevin Tyree. "Last year, the guys who were hitting in front of Rob didn't have any speed, so he saw a lot of junk."

Eight games into their senior year, Edgewood is only 4-4, but Mister's numbers are up again and Cephalis has taken his game to a new level.

Mister, a county champion wrestler at 152 pounds, is 3-1 on the mound and is hitting .550 while Cephalis, who Tyree says is "a rock behind the plate," is batting .444 with an area-high six home runs.

"John really likes the new fence we put around our field," said Tyree, who saw Cephalis hit three homers in a recent win over Aberdeen. "He's been the victim of a lot of open fields in the past. Before, he would tattoo the ball 380 feet and someone would be standing there waiting for it."

Cephalis has been equally efficient behind the plate. A strong arm and a lightning-quick release have enabled him to throw out seven of the 13 runners attempting to steal.

"He's a great catcher," said Mister, who hopes to throw to Cephalis next year in college, perhaps at Delaware State.

"He's been catching me for so long, he knows how I throw and I feel more comfortable and more relaxed with him back there. When I get in a jam, he comes out and settles me down by talking about what we're going to do that night."

Tyree says it's not uncommon to see the two taking extra batting practice and he's never heard one complaint when asked if they could help groom the field.

"I'll leave school, go home and come back and they'll still be out there practicing and they're not doing it for show," said Tyree. "They're out there because they want to be out there and because they want to get better."

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