Calvert Hall has opened the season with seven straight wins, with senior first baseman Jeff Guthridge hitting .526 with 10 runs, a double, two triples, a home run, eight RBIs and seven stolen bases. A returning second-team All-Baltimore County selection, Guthridge is coming off a season in which he led the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association in both batting average (.449) and RBIs (35), and had seven doubles, seven triples and two home runs. Guthridge, who is bound for Hofstra University on an athletic and academic scholarship, carries a 3.9 grade point average. The Bel Air resident, who suffered a stress fracture in his lower back during his sophomore year, credits his father, Bill, a 1977 graduate of Poly, with inspiring him to "stick with it" through therapy.
How did you injure your back and to what level of severity?
I played football my freshman and sophomore years, fracturing my vertebrae midway through my sophomore year. I'm not sure how it happened, maybe during a football game, but it just kept getting worse and worse. Like, if I started running, there might be a sharp pain. Or one of my legs might go numb while sitting in class. But I went through therapy and was cleared for baseball my sophomore year right before tryouts. I was worried it wouldn't work out, but, fortunately, it did.
What would it mean to your team, and to your personal legacy, to win a third straight MIAA A Conference title?
That would mean a ton to be able to say that you're part of that great tradition of championship teams. Two years ago, Calvert Hall set a lot of records as a team and was really good. We're just trying to be better than them. Our goal is to win the championship, and we're a real strong team with the ability to do that.
What skills does it take to play your position?
It's probably not considered one of the hardest positions, but you have to learn good footwork and hand-eye coordination. People think that it's easy to catch the ball, but to be a good defensive first baseman, you have to get your skills down. A lot of time, the blame for errors goes to you. You have to dig up the ground balls. If there's anything close, I should catch it. That's my job.