Player of the Year
Chip Ziegler, Arundel: No one was more valuable to his team than Ziegler was to the county runner-up Wildcats (16-6). The feisty junior was the team's ace pitcher and top offensive player and is the eighth Wildcat since 1980 to be named Player of the Year. "Chip was definitely the player of the year with all the things he did," said coach Bernie Walter. Ziegler was 8-2 with a county best 0.75 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. His only two losses were to county champion Severna Park. The right-hander tied the state record for most shutouts (four) in a season. Also a better than average center fielder, the 6-foot, 175-pound Ziegler batted .363, led the county in runs scored (31), tied for the county lead in RBIs (26), led his team in stolen bases (13), and his six homers were second in the county.
Coach of the Year
Jim McCandless, Severna Park: Only a state championship could have topped what was a highly successful rookie season for McCandless. The longtime Severna Park Legion coach took the reins of his alma mater, succeeding his former coach Jim Pitt, and led the Falcons to the Anne Arundel County championship. The No. 2 ranked Falcons finished 19-4 overall including an unprecedented four wins over the Bernie Walter-coached Arundel Wildcats. "From Day 1, we approached Arundel as just another game on our schedule. What happened in the past had nothing to do with this year," said McCandless. "Arundel is a quality program with a quality coach, but the team we had ranks up there with the best I've ever coached. Severna Park was expected to go to the state semis for the first time in the 26-year old Maryland tournament but was upset, 8-6, by Broadneck in the region quarterfinals.
The first team
Josh Banks, Severna Park: A 6-foot-4 right-hander headed to Florida International University, Banks led the county with a 9-0 record and 93 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings. Banks, a hard thrower with a nasty curve, developing change-up and superb control, yielded just 37 hits (foes batted .178 against him), walked only eight and only 10 of the 15 runs he gave up were earned for a 1.27 ERA.
Ryan Bellerby, Broadneck: Bellerby pitched the Bruins to the season's biggest upset - 8-6 over county champion Severna Park in the 4A East Region quarterfinals. The 6-1 senior right-hander finished with an 8-2 record and a 2.46 ERA. In 65 1/3 innings, Bellerby gave up 23 earned runs, 63 hits, walked 22 and struck out 63. Bellerby, who will attend Tennessee, batted .308 as an outfielder with a county leading five triples, 15 RBIs and 12 runs scored.
Steve Johnson, Old Mill: This stylish junior southpaw emerged as one of the county's top pitchers, going 7-3 with an 0.89 ERA for the No. 7 ranked Patriots (16-8). His nifty three-hitter with 12 strikeouts led Old Mill to a 3-0 victory over defending 4A state champion Glen Burnie in the East Region final. Johnson, who has good movement on his fastball and has a curve with a lot of bite, worked 62 1/3 innings, yielding 41 hits, walking 21 and striking out 47.
Ron Pusloskie, Spalding: One of four first-team repeaters, Pusloskie, who will play at Salisbury State University, had a banner year for the Cavs, wearing out MIAA A Conference pitchers with a .486 (36-for-74) batting clip, three homers and 25 RBIs, and slugging and on-base percentages of .838 and .614. His county and metro area leading 15 doubles were two short of the county record (17) set by Arundel's Hector Guadalupe in 1998. Pusloskie also had 14 stolen bases and scored 19 runs.
Chris Moylan, Northeast: As good a hitter as there was in the county this season, the lefty first baseman hit a robust .452 (28-for-62) with six homers, nine doubles, scored 25 runs and tied for the county RBI lead with Chip Ziegler at 26. Moylan, who will play at UMBC, only struck out five times and had a slugging percentage of .887. Around the bag, the senior was superb with 149 putouts, nine assists and a fielding percentage of .988.
Kevin Brooks, Arundel: Second team All-County as a junior, Brooks moved up to the "A" team this spring after batting .384 (28-for-73) with 29 runs scored and 21 RBIs. Brooks, who played shortstop at the start of the season moved back to second base where he played most of last season and hopes to play at Anne Arundel Community College.
Rich Guarnera, North County: Last year's All-County first baseman moved over to the hot corner with great success. Guarnera, who will be a corner (1B-3B) man at Indiana University, batted .426 (29-for-68), only struck out once and had 10 doubles, a triple, two homers, 13 runs scored and 19 RBIs. His fielding percentage at the new position was a decent .830. In three varsity seasons, Guarnera set most of the Knights' school batting records hitting .415 (78-for-188) with 51 RBIs, 37 runs, 20 doubles, two triples and four homers.
Jayson Jennings, Broadneck: Opposing coaches raved about this junior's fielding and said he was the county's best all-around shortstop. Quickness and good hands enabled Jennings to play the toughest infield position with aplomb, committing only six errors and posting a .925 fielding percentage with 47 assists and 27 putouts. Jennings set a school record for batting average at .456 (26-for-57) and had 17 runs, 15 RBIs, six doubles and struck out only once.
Antoine Cooksey, Old Mill: Cooksey completed a trifecta after also being named All-County in football and wrestling. As the 4A state semifinalist Patriots' cleanup hitter and right fielder (.974 fielding percentage, one error, 75 putouts, three assists), Cooksey batted .386 (27-for-70) with three doubles, three homers, 17 runs and 19 RBIs.
Derek Dixon, Severna Park: For the second straight season, Dixon hit seven homers to lead county public school players, and he did it despite 20 walks. The switch-hitting pro prospect, who was All-County in football and a basketball point-guard, has a scholarship to UNC-Charlotte. The senior batted .329 (23-for-70) with a .527 on-base percentage, struck out only three times and led the Falcons in runs scored (27) and had 22 RBIs.
Jason Galloway, Old Mill: The final first team repeater, Galloway, who was All-County in football and second team in basketball, batted .328 (24-for-73) with 15 runs scored, nine RBIs, six doubles, four triples and 11 stolen bases. Galloway made one error in center field, had 44 putouts and two assists for a .979 fielding percentage. He will play football at Towson with hopes of playing baseball.
Keith Williams, Glen Burnie: The fourth All-County outfielder and a standout in three sports, Williams was All-County in football and second team All-County in basketball. A two-year starter for the Gophers' baseball team, Williams moved from right field to center this season and did not commit an error on 27 putouts and three assists. The 6-1, 190-pound sophomore batted. 389 with six doubles, three triples, one homer, 19 runs, 20 RBIs and four stolen bases.
Kevin Wells, Severna Park: Hard work turned Wells into one of the county's best hitters and an adequate third baseman. Wells, who will play Division I baseball at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., led the Falcons who had 45 at bats or more in hitting at .393 (22-for-56) and on 27 RBIs while scoring 16 runs, hitting five doubles and four homers.
The Baltimore Sun 2000 All-Anne Arundel County baseball and softball teams were selected by Pat O'Malley and Glenn P. Graham, respectively, after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.