COACH OF THE YEAR
* Ed Ashwell, Glenelg -- As a first-year coach, Ed Ashwell had the task of recharging a highly successful program that was coming off a disappointing season.
Glenelg had won a state championship two years ago and was expected to win again last season, but failed to get beyond the regionals -- or even to win the county title.
This year, the Gladiators rebounded to win county, regional and state titles -- their third state title overall. With a 21-3 record, they posted their fewest losses in school history.
Many people were surprised by the rebound, especially since No. 1 pitcher Sean Lookingbill was unable to pitch for most of the season because of a sore back. He eventually won three of the four playoff games.
Ashwell made sure that everyone on the team received an opportunity to contribute and all of them did at some point.
This was a fairly young team that started four seniors, but Ashwell quickly built the confidence of the underclassmen who produced in game after game.
For Ashwell, a former All-County Glenelg third baseman in the 1970s, the state title was the second he was a part of. He was assistant coach in 1983 when the Gladiators won it.
FIRST TEAM AT A GLANCE
* Jason Babcock, Centennial, senior, catcher -- A fine defensive player who helped develop a young pitching staff this season, Babcock batted .403 with one double, four triples and 12 RBIs. He scored 16 runs, walked 11 times and stole nine bases without being caught. In an upset of Glenelg, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases. He threw out 78 percent of would-be base stealers.
* Brandon Eierman, Atholton, senior, designated hitter -- One of the most feared hitters in the league for the second straight year, Eierman batted .443 (31-for-70) with 11 doubles, five home runs and 27 RBIs. He scored 29 runs, had a league-leading .814 slugging average and a .529 on-base average. He walked 13 times and struck out only five times. He stole 14 bases without being caught. His 25 career doubles is a state record and his 14 doubles as a junior is a single-season state record. Eierman, a two-time first-team pick, will attend East Tennessee State on a partial baseball scholarship.
* Zach Guerra, Glenelg, senior, outfield -- Few would have predicted that he'd bat .425 (31-for-73) with seven doubles, six -- home runs and a league-leading 34 RBIs. He scored 29 runs, had a .767 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base average. His throw from right field in the fifth inning of the state championship game cut down what would have been the tying run. He hit a grand slam home run in the state semifinal.
* Mike Goldberg, Glenelg, senior, shortstop -- With 17 career home runs, Goldberg came up one shy of the state record. This season, he hit seven homers and two doubles, drove in 27 runs, scored 26 times, walked 15 times and batted .354 (23-for-65). His slugging percentage was .754 and on-base average .488. The league's most effective reliever, he pitched 17 innings with a 1-0 record, 1.65 ERA and four saves. He struck out 31 and walked 15. Goldberg pitched six innings in relief and got the win in the regional championship game against Atholton. The three-time first-team All-County pick will attend Florida's Indian River CC, 00 which has one of the best junior college baseball programs in the country.
* Ben Gugliotta, Glenelg, junior, first base -- After a promising sophomore season, Gugliotta blossomed into an outstanding player this year. He batted .409 (28-for-66) with four doubles, one triple, four home runs and 33 RBIs. He scored 19 runs, had a .636 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base average. He struck out only six times. His 400-foot leadoff home run in the fourth inning of the state championship game sparked a winning three-run rally. He drove in the winning run in the regional championship game against Atholton. Gugliotta also pitched 40 innings with a 4-3 record and 3.86 ERA.
* Jim Harris, Howard, junior, third base -- One of the league's most feared hitters, Harris slumped at the end of the season, but batted .409 (27-for-66) with three doubles, three triples, four home runs and 19 RBIs. He scored 20 runs, had a slugging percentage of .727 and on-base average of .493. Harris went 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs in a game against Oakland Mills.
* Dan Keyser, Atholton, senior, pitcher -- A crafty left-hander who tied for the league lead in wins with seven, Keyser was a workhorse for Atholton, pitching 64 1/3 innings. He walked 28, struck out 28, had a 3.15 ERA and was 7-3. All three losses were to Class 2A state champion Glenelg, and all were respectable efforts. One of his wins was against Class 3A state finalist South Carroll in non-league play.
* Sean Lookingbill, Glenelg, senior, outfield -- A fine defensive outfielder, Lookingbill was forced to sit out some of the year with a sore back, but he still hit .354 (17-for-48) with one double, one home run, 12 RBIs and 18 runs scored. He walked 15 times as a leadoff batter -- almost 25 percent of his trips to the plate. He struck out five times and his on-base average was .508. As a pitcher, Lookingbill won three of Glenelg's four playoff games on the road to the state championship. He was 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA, 30 innings pitched, 17 hits, 17 walks and 30 strikeouts. He's a three-time first-team selection.
* Rusty Miller, Howard, senior, shortstop -- His .438 average (28-for-64) tied for second in the league. He hit eight doubles, one triple, three home runs and had 20 RBIs. He had a .734 slugging percentage and .520 on-base average and stole seven bases without being caught. Miller also pitched, and had a 2-1 record with one save and a 3.96 ERA. He's a two-time first-team pick.
* Curtis Mitchell, Centennial, senior, outfield -- A two-time first-team pick, Mitchell batted .403 (25-for-62) with five doubles, nine RBIs and 15 runs. He stole 12 bases and was caught once. He had a .479 on-base percentage. He went 4-for-4 with two RBIs in a win over Liberty. Against Wilde Lake, he hit two doubles and threw a runner out at the plate.
* Dennis Pagel, Glenelg, junior, pitcher -- He emerged from the shadows of being a reliever to become Glenelg's No. 1 starter for most of the season, and post a 7-0 record and 1.49 ERA. He had two saves. The left-hander relied on control for much of his effectiveness. He walked 10 batters in 47 innings and struck out 26. Three of his victories were against second-place league finisher and Class 2A South Region finalist Atholton.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MIKE DEMING
Glenelg's state championship was certainly a team effort this season, but one player's talent reflected a crucial contribution game after game.
Senior catcher Mike Deming helped develop a young pitching staff that few people expected would produce as it did. Deming called every pitch, and pitchers like Dennis Pagel (7-0) credited Deming for much of their success.
"It is simply amazing how he [Deming] controls a game," Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell said.
Deming also displayed the fortitude to play in pain. He suffered a mild shoulder separation during a collision at first base, but missed only a couple of games. For several games, he wore lacrosse padding outside his uniform to protect the shoulder.
Deming's biggest defensive play was throwing out a South Hagerstown runner in the fifth inning of the state championship game with Glenelg clinging to a 3- 2 lead. The next three batters reached base after the failed steal attempt, but the Rebels did not score and Glenelg won, 3-2. South Hagerstown had stolen on 65 of 67 attempts.
Defense was just part of Deming's season. He batted .438 (32-for-73) with 20 RBIs, three home runs, six doubles, a slugging percentage of .644 and an on-base average of .512. He scored 25 runs, walked 12 times and struck out eight times. He was 7-for-16 in the playoffs. This is his second first-team selection. The Baltimore Sun 1995 All-Howard County Baseball Teams were chosen by Rick Belz after consultation with staff writers and area coaches.