Nobody remembers when Chesapeake last cracked The Sun Top 15 for boys lacrosse, but there it is at No. 13 this week and rolling.
Third year coach Brien McMurray has done a remarkable job in lifting the Cougars (5-2). Chesapeake posted a pair of impressive road victories last week to join the metro area's elite club.
Chesapeake's last winning season came in 1988 (10-5), the last time it was ranked. Under coach Frank Murray, the Cougars were No. 19 in The Evening Sun's final Top 20 that season, and in 1989, Murray's last, they went 6-6, the last non-losing season until last year's 9-7 under McMurray.
Last week's results proved the Cougars are legitimate.
Wednesday at Annapolis (4-1), the Cougars streaked by the Panthers, 16-9, and followed it up with a 10-9 overtime victory at defending 4A-3A state champion and then-No. 7 Broadneck (3-2) in Cape St. Claire Friday night.
Chesapeake started what is a three-game slate this week with a 15-6 triumph over Southern-Harwood (4-3) on Monday. The Cougars play host to unranked Arundel (4-0) at 7 p.m. today and travel to Edgewater Friday for a 7 p.m. battle with unranked 2A South River (6-0).
"We put it all together at Annapolis and our transition game was really something," said McMurray. "Then, Friday at Broadneck, we were in the penalty box from the second through the final periods.
"Broadneck scored five consecutive extra-man goals on us to get back into the game. I didn't think the officiating was very good and felt we got homered, but our kids hung in there and got it done."
Erik Kittle's second goal of the game with seven seconds left in overtime gave the Cougars the win. Senior attackman Ron Bookhamer pumped in four goals and had an assist after scoring five goals in the Annapolis victory.
Chesapeake has a great shot at winning the North Division and advancing to the May 5 county championship game. The Cougars' "big" in-division game figures to be Friday, April 18 when they host North County (4-3).
The Cougars and Knights appear to be the class of the North while the South Division is loaded and up for grabs with No. 8 Severna Park (4-0), Broadneck, Annapolis, Arundel and South River.
On the girls' side of the sport, the South is also the dominant division with all six teams boasting winning records while everybody in the North has a losing record.
Ranked teams such as No. 5 Annapolis (5-1), No. 6 Severna Park (4-1) and No. 12 Broadneck (4-2) pace the South, as well as Arundel (6-0) Southern (3-1) and South River (4-1).
Around the horn
No. 3 Old Mill is the county's only unbeaten baseball team at 8-0. While the 1-2 pitching punch of ace Mike Ziegler (4-0) and junior left-hander Danny Miller (3-0) has had much to do with Old Mill's success, the play of senior catcher Steve Reinhardt also has played a major role.
Reinhardt had a homer, double and two RBIs in Monday's 8-4 win over No. 2 Chesapeake (4-2) and has done an excellent job behind the plate after catching only two innings as a junior. Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery says Reinhardt has been "a pleasant surprise."
"One of the biggest question marks we had coming into the season was replacing Shane Thompson [All-County catcher now at Anne Arundel Community College]," said Montgomery.
"But Steve has stepped in and done the job for us. We were just hoping he would do the job defensively, but he's not only done that, but he's swinging the bat really well and has come into his own."
Reinhardt says he worked hard last summer with the Glen Burnie Cardinals of coach Al Fekays to cut down on striking out and has been able to consistently put the ball in play this spring.
The senior backstop also credits Ziegler with his gaining confidence as a first-time starter.
"Mike paints the corners and it's a definite ego builder to catch somebody like Ziegler, " said Reinhardt. "It's just a lot of fun. He throws the ball where I call it and we work well together.
"The transition from Thompson to me has been smooth because Mike has such great control."
With Reinhardt setting up the target and Ziegler consistently hitting it, not a Cougar was given a walk. Ziegler's control is so good that it made catching easy for Reinhardt from the start and the latter's confident handling of Miller and Dave Watts has been enhanced.
Montgomery has no more question marks except for how much longer the Patriots unbeaten streak will continue.
Congratulations to Severn School. The Admirals (1-3) posted their first win of the season by 10-7 over Mount Carmel with Greg Cooper hitting a homer and Zach Stauffer a key double.
Ditto, South River (1-5), a 6-5 winner over Annapolis (2-3) in eight innings.
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Pub Date: 4/09/97