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Wet fields squelching practice sessions

The Baltimore Sun

The snow may have melted in Carroll County, but spring sports teams have been slow to take the field.

Before last week's extended period of warm weather and sun, most area athletic fields remained saturated, leading to numerous postponements and cancellations.

"We are somewhat backed up," said Craig Walker, the athletic director at Francis Scott Key, who was forced to schedule four games each last week for his baseball, softball and tennis teams to make up for earlier postponements. "It puts a lot of stress on the pitching staffs this early in the season. The only other option is to make it heavy at the end of the season, but that's not good going into the playoffs."

Walker said he has made a habit of dragging his fields first thing in the morning in an effort to help them dry more quickly.

Sports such as baseball and softball have felt the biggest effects.

"Have we managed to get out [on the field] here and there? Yes," North Carroll softball coach Lloyd Ford said. "But in the first three weeks, we had 16 or 17 possible days [to practice], and we probably were out on the field five days."

Instead, county teams have had to spend the bulk of their days trying to make the most of practice time in the gym.

"It's very difficult to create any game-type situations," Ford said. "It's very difficult to work with outfielders with things like longer throws, tracking balls and cut-off positions for the infielders. And when you field off a gym floor, you don't get too many bad hops."

MVAL awards

Several players and coaches from Carroll County received recognition recently when area media voted for the Monocacy Valley Athletic League's annual basketball awards.

In the Chesapeake Conference, Westminster guard Kevin Carr finished second to Thomas Johnson's Tyler Snoots in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Carr, a first-team All-County selection, led the conference in steals at 2.7 a game.

Owls coach Brett Kanther also was the runner-up to Urbana's Terry Connelly for conference Coach of the Year. Kanther, who stepped down as coach after the season, led his team to a turnaround season, improving from 11-12 to 17-7, including 8-4 in the Chesapeake Conference.

On the girls side, Century sophomore point guard Katie Schwarzmann fell just short in Defensive Player of the Year voting, losing out by a single vote. Schwarzmann, The Sun's Carroll County Player of the Year this season, led a defense that held opponents to just 39 points a game, averaging 5.8 steals.

In the Piedmont Conference, Winters Mill forward Brett Burrier finished as the runner-up in Player of the Year voting to Frederick's Steve Custis. Burrier, a senior who averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds, was named The Sun's Carroll County Player of the Year.

Falcons coach Dave Herman was named the conference's co-Coach of the Year, along with Frederick's Arnie McGaha. Despite missing key players throughout the season, Herman, The Sun's county Coach of the Year, led his squad to an 18-5 mark, including 10-2 in the conference.

Winters Mill was a participant in both the boys and girls games voted Games of the Year in the Piedmont Conference. The Winters Mill boys survived three overtimes to outlast Walkersville, 80-75, while the girls pulled a 44-40 upset over Middletown on the road.

To submit news and story ideas about Carroll County high school athletics, contact Rich Scherr at CarrollSports@comcast.net.

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