County teams spring to wins


South Carroll is streaking.

Westminster was streaking before losing back-to-back one-run games.

Francis Scott Key has been hot most of the season. Liberty is starting to make its move. North Carroll was 6-3 before losing two straight.

That is the successful state of high school baseball in Carroll County.

In all, the five county teams own a 43-18 record and are putting bad football and basketball memories behind them.

Not one Carroll County football or boys basketball team surpassed the .500 mark.

In baseball, Westminster is 10-2, South Carroll is 11-4, Francis Scott Key 9-3, Liberty 7-4, and North Carroll 6-5.

Let the spring party begin.

And it might end with all five schools making the regionals and the county owning the Central Maryland Conference title and the Monocacy Valley Athletic League championship.

Before Westminster met Thomas Johnson in a CMC makeup game yesterday, the Owls and Liberty were leading the CMC with 4-2 records, North Carroll was a notch behind at 3-2, and South Carroll and Thomas Johnson were next with 4-3 marks.

It looks as if the four Carroll schools are ganging up a bit on Thomas Johnson and the two other Frederick County schools -- Frederick High and Linganore -- in the CMC. The Cadets and Lancers bring up the rear in the seven-team baseball league.

The three Frederick County schools traditionally have dominated the CMC in football and basketball, making this a sweet payback time for Carroll County.

In regard to the MVAL, Francis Scott Key (9-3) is second to South Hagerstown (10-2) in the standings with six games left. The Eagles need a little help to overtake the Rebels who have beaten Key twice.

However, in the current state Class 1A South region point standings Key is in first place and headed for the home-field advantage throughout.

The Eagles have been led by the pitching of Jason Dykes (5-0) and Dan Stephenson (4-2) and the hitting of Mike Crawmer (.500), Stephenson (.400), Dave Johnson (.400, two home runs), Greg Bowers (.300) and Robbie Green (.280).

Key does not play any of the other county teams and is not eligible for the Carroll championship.

Halfway through the season, Liberty is tied for first with South Carroll at 2-1 and Westminster and North Carroll are a game back at 1-2.

Westminster (off to a 10-0 start overall) gave early indications it might be ready to tear through the league 6-0. Then the unthinkable happened to the ninth-ranked Owls. In a little more than 24 hours, they lost to Liberty and South Carroll, both by 5-4.

The scenario was the same in both setbacks -- a lack of hitting in the two, three and four positions and the failure to make a few important defensive plays.

In both losses, the team's cleanup and leading hitter, Denny Bowers, was shut down.

Going into yesterday's Thomas Johnson game, Bowers still was hitting .462 with four home runs, five doubles, 15 RBIs and 15 runs scored despite going 0-for-5 combined against Liberty and South Carroll.

Westminster co-coach Carl Rihard said, "The Liberty coach [Steve Insley] said it was the best game they played all year, and in the South Carroll game we had a runner [Paul Reter] thrown out at home and we failed to get a sacrifice bunt down with runners on first and second and nobody out. But we'll be back."

Tenth-ranked South Carroll has won six straight under first-year coach Brad Collins who said his decision not to rush his pitchers, especially Kile Maxcy, early in the season is paying off.

"The players wanted to move faster, but we had in mind what we wanted to do and we did it," said Collins.

Liberty has won three of its last four, including a one-hitter by junior left-hander Daryl Knight in a 8-1 victory over North Carroll, to surge into contention in the county and CMC races.

Knight (3-2), Chris Devins (2-1) and Eric Eldridge (1-1) have been doing the job on the mound, and Matt Horrell (.400), Jon Barnowski (.360) and Jon Felmey ( .330) are the leading hitters.

For North Carroll, the bottom line is simple -- when pro prospect Mike Huller (5-1, 60 strikeouts, 15 walks, 2.3 ERA) pitches, the Panthers win.

Jason Brezler (.411) and Jon Plunkert (.400) are the leading North Carroll hitters.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad