FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
COACH OF THE YEAR
* Mark Stover, Broadneck -- In 1983 when Tim McMullen led Broadneck to its first state baseball championship, Mark Stover was an assistant coach. No one was happier than McMullen when Broadneck (18-6) won the Class 3A state title last week by 2-1 over South Carroll.
"Mark turned in a remarkable job," said McMullen, who is now Stover's assistant and JV coach. "He didn't have any pro or Division I prospects, but he worked on fundamentals, things like bunting, the hit and run, base running and it paid off."
Stover started the season with only two returning starters and a very inexperienced pitching staff. His hope was that his Bruins could be competitive.
Broadneck went on to win it all by posting more victories (17-6) than any baseball team in Bruin history.
Winning a state championship was a possibility the year before (14-7) with 6-foot-7 Sean Ryan as the Bruin ace. Ryan, who has since turned pro with the Texas Rangers, lost, 1-0, to Centennial in the region playoffs.
Without an ace, Stover (131-98, 12 seasons) seriously considered pitching by committee as the season started, but Rob Wakefield (7-3) and John Totherow (5-1) blossomed as seniors.
Wakefield, not overpowering and with an average curveball, pitched a two-hitter in the region and state final to pace the Bruins to the title. His success was the result of location, throwing strikes and confidence that he could get the job done, all factors instilled by Stover, an ex-pitcher.
"I knew coach Stover believed in me, because he had all season," said Wakefield, who walked the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh of the state championship game before retiring three in a row. "I didn't want to let him down."
Stover masterfully used his players, changing batting orders and positions to find winning combinations. His knack for playing the right players in the right games was uncanny.
Manufacturing runs had always been the Bruin trademark under Stover, but never did it produce results as it did in 1995.
"A lot of people didn't think we could do this, but these kids worked as hard as any team as we have had and got better as the season went on," said Stover.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
* Mike Wooden, North County, senior, pitcher -- In four varsity seasons Wooden and the Knights grew up together with Wooden fulfilling the potential he showed as a freshman. Wooden was 1-6 in the ninth grade on a 6-14 team, but by his senior year, he was Anne Arundel County's premier pitcher at 9-1 for the 15-5 county champion Knights.
A three-time All-County selection, Wooden, a 6-foot-1 and 185-pound right-hander, was 13-3 over his last two seasons in leading the Knights to their first playoff berths.
"Mike owns all our pitching records and it's tough to put into words what he has meant to our program as a player and person," said coach Don Usewick.
This season Wooden led the county in strikeouts (96) in 64 innings for the second time in his career (84 in 1993) giving up only 15 walks and 29 hits while posting an ERA of 0.88. Opponents batted .136 (29-for-212) against him.
Wooden finished his career (2.09 ERA in 198 innings) with state records for consecutive scoreless innings (30 1/3 ) and career shutouts (seven) and tied state records for shutouts in a season (four) and consecutive shutouts (three).
County records set by Wooden are most career strikeouts (280) and consecutive innings pitched without an earned run (34 1/3 ). He tied county records for career no-hitters (two) and is only the second in county history to throw a perfect game (vs. Old Mill, 1994).
When he wasn't pitching, Wooden contributed with the bat and at third base, hitting .367 with 18 runs, 10 RBIs and eight doubles.
In the last two fall seasons, Wooden was the ace of the Oriolelanders team run by Baltimore Orioles' scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert who handpicked the top Division I prospects in the mid-Atlantic area. Wooden was 17-1 for the Oriolelanders.
"Mike pitched and won the championship game of our season-ending tournament in Raleigh, N.C. both years," said Gilbert.
Wooden, who was his team's Scholar Athlete for the annual Friends of Joe Cannon baseball banquet, has received a baseball scholarship to the University of Maryland. He was drafted by the Orioles in the 44th round last week.
* Joe Barnes, Old Mill, junior, outfield -- Old Mill rallies usually started when the speedy Barnes reached base. Barnes, who will play on the National Amateur Baseball Federation All-Star Team later this month, hit .427 with 13 RBIs at the leadoff spot and scored a team-leading 27 runs. Possessing great instincts in center field and a strong arm, Barnes threw out six runners at home plate.
* Brian Burden, Arundel, senior, first base -- Coach Bernie Walter said that Burden "may be the best defensive first baseman we have ever had," and he also ranked as one of the most productive with the bat. Burden committed only one error in 197 chances, topped only in Arundel history by 1993 All-Metro Player the Year Tim Giles who was flawless in 124 chances. Burden hit .426 (43-for-101) with a county-leading (overall) 37 RBIs. An excellent base runner, Burden also scored 21 runs and hit 10 doubles and two homers, one an inside-the-parker.
* Billy Dierker, Chesapeake, senior, infield -- One of the more consistent defensive shortstops in the metro area, Dierker hit .484 (31-for-64) with a team-leading 26 RBIs and 25 runs. Dierker, the Cougars' No. 3 hitter, had five doubles and five homers. At shortstop, Dierker displayed great hands and a strong throw that consistently threw out opposing runners. "There is nothing flashy about Billy and he's one of those kids you have to see day in and day out to appreciate," said coach Jim Simms.
* Matt Griswold, Severna Park, senior, outfield -- Headed to Division I Virginia Tech on a baseball scholarship, Griswold boasts one of the metro area's great swings from the left side and was superb defensively in right field. Griswold hit .465 (27-for-58) with six homers, 11 doubles and 25 RBIs. A three-year varsity starter, Griswold put up those big numbers after an impressive fall with the Oriolelanders select team in which he drew interest from a host of Division I schools, including Clemson. Griswold was both a vocal leader and leader by example for the young Falcons.
* Dominic Lascola, Spalding, senior, infield/pitcher -- Lascola was a bright spot in the Cavaliers' 8-12 season in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. He carried a heavy load and responded with a .458 (27-for-59) batting average, 18 RBIs and seven stolen bases. Lascola also posted four pitching victories. Coach Tom Lind said he "was a main reason why we were able to compete with the Calvert Halls, McDonoghs and Mount St. Joes."
* Kurt Light, Arundel, sophomore, pitcher -- Light capped his banner sophomore season by firing a four-hitter with seven strikeouts to blank defending champion Perry Hall in the 4A state final. Already possessing a heavy fastball, Light developed a nasty slider under the tutelage of Wildcat coach Bernie Walter and posted an 8-1 record, including two victories (second in the 4A East region final) over 4A county champion North
County. Light struck out 64 in 64 1/3 innings, gave up 46 hits and 20 walks, and recorded a 1.96 ERA. His only loss was to Chesapeake early in the season.
* Chuck Manns, Old Mill, junior, outfield -- After an injury-riddled sophomore season, Manns, also a Division I football prospect, put it all together this spring. He led his team in average (.479), doubles (12) and RBIs (23) batting out of the No. 3 hole. His 6-foot-2 and 195-pound frame coupled with great speed and athleticism has drawn the interest of pro and college scouts.
* Scott Neuberger, Severna Park, senior, outfield -- While his numbers dropped off a bit, Neuberger was still one of the premier center fielders in the county. His batting average dipped from .578 as a junior to .365 this spring, but his power numbers went up with eight homers (seven in 1994) and 24 RBIs (20 in '94). Neuberger had 11 stolen bases and his 15 career homers tied the county public school record set by his '93 teammate, John Milisitz. Neuberger, one of only two repeat first-teamers (Wooden, the other) will attend Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College in hopes of being drafted next June.
* Jim Pavao, Broadneck, senior, second base -- Pavao was the Bruin's man in in the middle offensively and defensively in their march to the 3A state championship by 2-1 over South Carroll, the second state title in school history (other in 1983). Hitting .359 for the 18-6 Bruins, Pavao set a school record for RBIs (26) and scored a team-leading 27 runs. Pavao was thrown out only once (in the state final) in 22 stolen base attempts. Pavao made a brilliant play on a ground ball up the middle in the fourth inning of the state final with the Bruins clinging to 2-1 lead. Pavao backhanded the ball, stepped on second and threw to first for an inning-ending double play.
* Shane Sanders, South River, senior, DH -- Sanders tied Arundel's Brian Burden for the regular-season RBI (26) crown and batted .400 (24-for-60). Playing third base, first base and pitcher, Sanders had four doubles, three triples, a homer and a fielding percentage of .883. Sanders was perhaps the top hitter in the county's 2A-3A League.
* Steve Tomshack, North County, senior, catcher -- A second-team All-County infielder as a junior, Tomshack moved behind the plate out of necessity for the Knights this season and led them to the 4A East Region final. Tomshack, an All-County linebacker in the fall for the 4A state champion Knights, batted .486 (35-for-72) with 26 RBIs, six doubles, a county-leading six triples and three homers. His slugging percentage was .861. He was a very good base runner
with seven stolen bases in eight attempts and 20 runs scored. Tomshack threw out 12 runners in 20 games. Coach Don Usewick said he "was one of the main keys to our success."
* Casey Trout, Arundel, senior, infield -- Clearly the anchor of what was an unproven infield at the start of the season, Trout's leadership, steady defensive play and knack to make things happen from his leadoff spot turned Arundel into a contender. Trout, who hopes to make the University of Maryland football and baseball teams as a walk-on, hit .421 (40-for-95) with a state-record 16 doubles, 28 stolen bases, 18 RBIs and a county-leading 41 runs scored. The runs scored figure ranks among the best in the metro area. He stole home in both the region and state finals.
* Andy Vermillion, Arundel, junior, pitcher -- The county's top left-hander, Vermillion came on strong the second half of the season, posting victories in the 4A region and state semis to finish with a 6-2 record, one save and a 1.41 ERA for the state champs. Using a somewhat unorthodox delivery, Vermillion was a master at changing speeds and setting hitters up for a breaking ball. In 54 1/3 innings, he struck out 47, walked 16 and yielded 41 hits. His contributions to the Cats' state title run went beyond the pitcher's mound as he also played the outfield and hit .389 with 20 runs, 18 RBIs, 10 stolen bases, four doubles and four triples.
* Jared Vogt, Chesapeake, sophomore, pitcher -- Vogt, a right-hander, led the No. 16 Cougars (15-6) into the 4A East Region playoffs with a 7-3 record. Vogt, who pitched a complete-game victory over eventual 4A state champion Arundel early in the season, lost two close games to the Wildcats, including a 3-1 decision in the 4A East semis. His other loss was 2-0 in eight innings to North County's Player of the Year Mike Wooden. Vogt, who throws very hard for a 16-year-old and mixes a superb curve and change-up, struck out 84 in 72 1/3 innings, posting an ERA of 1.80. "I'm really looking forward to the next two years with Jared. He showed a lot or poise," said coach Jim Simms.
PICKING THE TEAMS
The Baltimore Sun 1995 All-Anne Arundel County Baseball Teams were chosen by Pat O'Malley after consultation with staff writers and area coaches.