BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Harrison did a little bit of everything to help the Cavaliers make it to the region finals, where they lost to eventual state champion Liberty. The multi-talented senior hit .512 with four homers, two triples and 26 RBIs and struck out only once in 94 plate appearances, batting fourth most of the time.
But Harrison was just as valuable on the mound, going 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA. He was a dominating pitcher who posted two shutouts, threw four complete games and struck out 52 in 43 innings. Teams hit only .199 against Harrison, who is drawing a lot of interest from colleges.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The Lions improved from 6-13 last year to 20-3 this year - with a Class 2A state championship to boot. Barnes, in his sixth year at Liberty and making a second trip to the state final four, had hoped that last year would be a learning season because the Lions lost seven games by one run and almost the entire team returned.
"I thought that this group was talented last year; they had the ability," Barnes said. He was right, as the pitching of Wade Keenan and Shawn Houck plus the team's usually solid defense made Liberty a strong team.
Barnes also gambled a bit and used Houck in a closer's role, often having the talented outfielder pitch the final inning or two of a game, and it paid off as the senior went 6-1 with four saves.
Caplan helped the Lions on offense and defense. The senior catcher hit .430 with 21 RBIs and didn't strike out once in 23 games while playing every inning. His solid defense and strong arm made him a force for the Lions, and he'll play at Shepherd next year.
The junior first baseman was the team's top power hitter this season. The versatile player hit a team-high nine homers, helping the Knights reach .500 (10-10) for the first time. Gabrielian finished with a .509 average and a team-high 26 RBIs.
Francis Scott Key
He repeatedly sparked the Eagles' offense, hitting .446 while batting second. He had 13 RBIs and led the Monocacy Valley Athletic League with 20 steals. Hersh spent most of his time at shortstop and was a solid all-around player for the improving squad.
Houck's arm played a big role in the Lions winning the Class 2A state title. Coach Erik Barnes made him the team's closer, and the senior went 6-1 with four saves and a 1.50 ERA. Houck also had a big year in center field, including throwing a runner out at home in the sixth inning of the state title game that stopped J.M. Bennett from taking the lead. Houck, who batted just under .300 and is going to Frederick Community College, also threw two shutout innings and got the win in the title game.
Keenan did it all for the Lions this season. He went 4-0 with 63 strikeouts in 52 innings and an ERA under 2.00. The senior, who is undecided on his college plans, hit over .400 and played first base and right field at times for the Lions.
The Owls' leadoff hitter constantly got their offense going this spring. Kennedy hit .385 with three homers, four triples and eight doubles. The senior outfielder also played strong defense and helped the Owls make their way to the region finals.
A three-year starter, Kraus ended his high school career with a bang. He hit .380 with three homers, 12 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs, giving the team more power while hitting third and fourth after batting first and second earlier in his career. Kraus played center field most of the time and finished with only one error. He is going to West Virginia Wesleyan to play football in the fall.
Kuperstock played a big role in the Owls making it to the region finals. He played everywhere for Westminster, seeing time at catcher, second base, shortstop and pitcher. The junior hit .425 and was consistent on offense throughout the season.
Parker helped the Cavaliers in several ways. The senior outfielder batted .391 with 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs plus 13 steals. South Carroll also used his help on the mound, as Parker finished with a 3-1 record, two saves and a 1.23 ERA.
The four-year starting catcher had another solid all-around season, hitting .347 with two doubles and three homers. Teams did not want to run against him, as South Carroll opponents stole only 16 bases in 23 games. Payne also finished with 12 assists and is headed to junior college next year at Potomac State (W. Va.)
Raska hit .368 with 15 RBIs and scored 16 runs this season. He often batted second and third and repeatedly came through with timely hits. Raska also helped the Panthers with his strong defense in center field.
He was a solid part of the state champion's lineup, hitting .390 from the cleanup spot with three homers and 21 RBIs. The senior first baseman/designated hitter repeatedly came through with clutch hits that helped the Lions to the Class 2A state title. He'll play at Mount St. Mary's next year.
Wingate was the team's top pitcher this season, finishing with a 6-3 record after winning two playoff games. The senior batted near .300 and drove in 11 runs. Wingate, who also played first base, is headed to Villa Julie to play baseball.
THE BASEBALL TEAMS
Player of the Year: Ryan Harrison, South Carroll Coach of the Year: Erik Barnes, Liberty First team
Name School Class Position
Shawn Houck Liberty Senior Pitcher
Wade Keenan Liberty Senior Pitcher
Elijah Wingate North Carroll Senior Pitcher
Brett Caplan Liberty Senior Catcher
D. J. Payne South Carroll Senior Catcher
Aaron Gabrielian Century Junior First base
Jacob Kuperstock Westminster Junior Second/short
Layton Hersh F.S. Key Junior Short/third
Brandon Kennedy Westminster Senior Outfield
Tyler Kraus South Carroll Senior Outfield
Jason Parker South Carroll Senior Outfield
Ricky Raska North Carroll Senior Outfield
Josh Vittek Liberty Senior DH
Name School Class Position
Jeremy Beck South Carroll Senior Pitcher
Brett Harman Westminster Freshman Pitcher
Jason Zuniga Century Senior Catcher
Matt Edwards F.S. Key Senior First base
Ryne Bridges Winters Mill Sophomore Second base
Aaron Myers North Carroll Senior Second base
Drew Counselman Liberty Senior Shortstop
Chris Luette South Carroll Senior Shortstop
Mike Drabic Westminster Senior Third base
Brad Mayr South Carroll Senior Third base
Matt Anuszewski Liberty Junior Outfield
Steve Rice Century Soph. Outfield
Zac Taylor Wesminster Senior Outfield
Mark Porter F.S. Key Senior DH
Note: Teams selected by Jeff Seidel after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.