If some coaches and athletic directors have their way, starting next spring rivalries between Carroll County baseball and softball teams will become a little less chummy.
They are making a push to eliminate one of three annual meetings between the county's four Central Maryland Conference members.
It's a move that would leave Liberty, North Carroll, South Carroll and Westminster with just two conference matchups against one another, creating space on the schedule for games against other opponents.
The games expected to be dropped are early-season intra-county matchups that do not count in the conference standings.
Prior to 1996, county teams routinely played teams from Howard County early in the season. Once Howard County expanded by two schools, however, it no longer had room for Carroll schools on the schedule.
Now, most local coaches say they'd like to add a little spice to their schedules.
"It wouldn't be so bad if Liberty and North Carroll weren't in our same region," said South Carroll baseball coach George Richardson. "But in the two years I've coached now, we've played the same teams in the regionals that we've played during the conference schedule. That meant we played North Carroll and Liberty for a fourth time."
"I'd like to play somebody different," said North Carroll softball coach Lloyd Ford. "I'd rather not play a game that doesn't really count. Not that I want to travel for an hour and a half to go play a game, but I wouldn't mind playing somebody of quality and using them as a measuring stick for where we're at."
Athletic directors already have started working the phones in an effort to replace the games.
"I think it's definitely going to happen here," said South Carroll athletic director Gene Brown. "We've actually already started to do it. We've already picked up two extra games. It's just good for the kids."
The South Carroll baseball team, for instance, has replaced two early-season county games with Montgomery County power Damascus and Baltimore County's Pikesville. Richardson said he'd love to also play Francis Scott Key, but can't since that school is locked into a season-long Monocacy Valley Athletic League schedule.
That leaves the choices somewhat limited, said Liberty athletic director Ken Johnson.
"You go where you can," said Johnson. "You're limited to going to either private schools, Baltimore County or Harford County. It's tough."
Most teams don't solidify their spring schedules until early fall. Richardson said there's a real disadvantage to playing one team up to four times in a season.
"There's a lot of things I want to do, but I don't want to show these teams the first time we play them when we still might play them three more times," said Richardson. "That's especially true if you have any special defenses or any special offensive plays. You can't give a team a chance to figure out how to do anything. You want it to be a surprise."
Last year, South Carroll beat North Carroll four times en route to a Class 3A state baseball title. Those kinds of results, however, are the exception to the rule, since it becomes tougher to defeat a team in each successive matchup due to the familiarity factor.
Richardson had originally gotten the ball rolling by asking Brown to look into the problem. Now, an across-the-board change starting next season seams quite likely.
"Most people seem to think it's a good idea, so we're going to see how it goes," said Brown. "I know I wouldn't want to play somebody that many times. It gets to be monotonous."
On three consecutive weekdays, three area pitchers -- South Carroll's Bo Sauter, Francis Scott Key's Ryan Bordner and Carroll Christian's Corey Green -- each threw a no-hitter.
The remarkable string began two Thursdays ago when Sauter, a sophomore transfer from Calvert Hall, recorded 18 strikeouts in a 3-0 Cavaliers victory over Catonsville.
Sauter, who was one pitch away from a perfect game, threw only 87 pitches and was extended to a full count by only two batters.
Twenty-four hours after Sauter's pitching gem, Bordner blanked Smithsburg on 84 pitches in a 16-1 win on Friday.
Although he struck out just three batters, the junior's ball control forced Smithsburg into eight groundouts and seven flyouts. The only blemish on Bordner's performance was a fourth-inning error on a pickoff play that allowed Smithsburg to scratch out a run.
Then last Monday, Green no-hit Martinsburg of West Virginia, 15-0. Despite walking four, the junior struck out seven and helped himself by hitting two doubles and scoring a run.
Green, who was making his first varsity start, threw only 60 pitches in five innings of work.
Two North Carroll players are the lone county representatives on the Central Maryland Conference girls basketball first team.
Senior power forward Candice Jeffery tied for sixth in votes with Frederick sophomore guard Kristal Hood, both of whom garnered 31 total points.
With 28 points, senior shooting guard Heather Easter finished tied for eighth with Urbana junior forward Pam Kenney.
Panthers junior center Becky Wike led the second team with 24 points and one first-place vote. Liberty's duo of junior power forward Lauryn Smith (14 points) and senior point guard Michelle Allen (12 points) and South Carroll junior guard Kim Lowry (11 points) joined Wike on the second team.
On the boys side, the Westminster pair of senior center Nick Hohenwarter and junior shooting guard Jon-David Byers, Liberty senior center Marc Falcone and South Carroll senior shooting guard Derek Boswell all earned spots on the conference first team.
Another Westminster duo, senior point guard Ryan Salkeld and senior power forward Adrian Lynch, gained second-team honors.
Earning honorable mention status were Mike Bowers, Jason Bright, Robbie Ruch and Tom Warner of Liberty; Brett Johnson, Ian Malcolm and Chris Vaughn of North Carroll, and Cody Haslup and Bill Moss of South Carroll.
Rain last Monday and Tuesday wreaked havoc on baseball and softball games involving county teams.
The Westminster at South Carroll baseball and softball games scheduled for last Monday will be made up tomorrow at 4 p.m.
The North Carroll at Liberty baseball and softball games also scheduled for last Monday will be made up on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The Catoctin at Francis Scott Key baseball and softball games scheduled for last Tuesday will be made up on Monday, April 10, at 4: 30 p.m.
Also, the Francis Scott Key at Catoctin tennis match slated for last Tuesday will be made up on Monday, May 8, at 4 p.m.
And due to a death in the family of Jim and Suzanne Peters -- the respective head coaches of the boys and girls lacrosse teams at Westminster -- the games last Friday against River Hill were postponed. They will be made up tomorrow.
The boys squad will travel to River Hill for a 3: 30 p.m. start. The girls team will play host to the Hawks for a 6: 30 p.m. start.