PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Playing third base and pitching, Lingerman led the Cardinals to a record-setting 33-0 season that included a third straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title. A 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior, he batted .390 with an area-leading 47 RBIs, which ranks fourth in state history for a season. On the mound, Lingerman was 7-0 with four saves and a 1.49 ERA in 47 innings, striking out 53, walking 15 and giving up 36 hits. "Kevin was very consistent in everything he did for us, " coach Lou Eckerl said. "There is no question that he played a major part in our going 33-0. He's the only player who was also on the 2005 team that went 31-1. He started at shortstop as a freshman." Batting third in the Cardinals' powerful lineup, Lingerman had 39 hits in 100 at-bats, scored 26 runs, was second on the team in doubles with 11, and had two triples and three homers. He also had a team-leading five sacrifice flies. In a nonleague contest with one of Northern Virginia's top teams, Notre Dame Academy, Lingerman pitched a no-hitter with five strikeouts and had an RBI single in the fifth for a 1-0 victory that kept the team's winning streak intact. Lingerman, whose father, Nemo Lingerman, pitched at Patterson High and later in the Minnesota Twins organization, notched a save in the Cardinals' 9-6 victory over Archbishop Spalding in the MIAA A Conference playoffs. He then stopped Mount St. Joseph, 9-2, on a six-hitter in another playoff game.
COACH OF THE YEAR
After leading the Cardinals to a Maryland-record 31-1 season in 2005, it didn't seem likely that Eckerl could top that. This season, however, Eckerl guided the Cardinals to a 33-0 season, setting state records for most wins and most consecutive wins in a single season. Top-ranked Calvert Hall won its third straight Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title. Also, the entire baseball program that Eckerl oversees went an unprecedented 75-0, as the junior varsity (26-0) and the freshman team (16-0) both won MIAA titles, too. "I feel really blessed and humble," said Eckerl, who has led the Cardinals to a 91-8 record over the past three seasons and has been named Metro Coach of the Year twice during that span. "This team was really dedicated to winning. I am amazed we have accomplished this feat. We have great kids and great coaches here. We've also been lucky in a lot of senses." The Cardinals hit every morning at 7 a.m. before the start of school at 8:30, and after school, they were back on the baseball field. The players lauded Eckerl, who has also been the school's athletic director for 25 years, and the coaching staff. Eckerl is 151-40 (.791) in six seasons at Calvert Hall and also coached his alma mater, Cardinal Gibbons, in the early 1980s, winning the 1982 A Conference title and going 49-14 (.778). That gives him an overall record of 200-54 (.787).
A two-year starter as a sophomore, Blair possesses the poise and skills of a seasoned senior. He set the table for the hard-hitting Cardinals as their leadoff man, while anchoring the infield at shortstop. Blair led the area's top team in batting with a .534 average, with a state-record 58 runs scored. His 55 hits are the second-highest total for a single-season in state history, trailing the 62 by Archbishop Curley's Mike Costello in 1999. In addition, Blair, who only struck out five times, led the team in slugging percentage (.874) and had 15 doubles, four triples, four homers and 31 RBIs. Blair also led the Cardinals in stolen bases with 28 in 34 attempts. His on-base percentage was .606. Defensively, Blair had a .917 fielding percentage, making six errors in 73 chances while showing a lot of range and a strong arm.
Headed to the University of Maryland on a baseball scholarship, Chenworth closed his varsity career in strong fashion, batting .483 while making only one error in 30 chances in center field. Chenworth, a sweet-swinging left-hander who is 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, had 43 hits in 89 at-bats while drawing a club-leading 31 walks. The No. 2 hitter in the batting order, Chenworth scored 49 runs, drove in 34 and had eight doubles, two triples, four homers and 25 stolen bases in 26 attempts. His knack for clutch hits kept the Cardinals' run to an unprecedented 33-0 season going on several occasions. One of his most notable hits was a grand slam against Mount St. Joseph in a 10-4 regular-season victory.
St. Vincent Pallotti
Flannery is the first baseball player from his school to be named to the All-Metro first team. Flannery, a three-year starter as a junior, was the best catcher in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference and ranked as one of its top pitchers as well. Batting .468, Flannery led the Panthers (22-10) in all the major offensive categories, with 46 runs scored, 45 RBIs, 11 doubles, seven triples, eight homers, 28 stolen bases and a .989 slugging percentage. He also walked 27 times. With his soft hands, good lateral movement and athleticism, Flannery effectively blocked pitches, and his strong arm limited opponents from stealing bases. That strong right arm also allowed him to help his team by occasionally taking the mound and going 5-3 (4-1 in the league) with 66 strikeouts in 53 innings and a 1.98 ERA.
Guthridge emerged as one of the metro area's most feared cleanup batters with his .432 average, eight doubles, five triples, four homers and 39 RBIs. The Hofstra-bound right-hander also scored 36 runs and stole 12 bases while drawing 22 walks. His consistent power-hitting prevented opponents from pitching around No. 3 hitter and Player of the Year Kevin Lingerman. Guthridge completed what was the area's top hitting foursome, which produced 151 RBIs, 42 doubles, 13 triples and 15 homers. The slick-fielding first baseman committed only three errors in 169 chances for a .982 fielding percentage. He was adept at digging throws out of the dirt and used his 6-foot-3 frame and long arms to stretch close plays.
Winning four games in the playoffs, Harman, the Carroll County Player of the Year, led the No. 6 Owls to their first state championship in baseball. The senior's six-hitter gave the Owls a 4-1 victory over No. 7 Centennial in the Class 3A state final. Harman, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-hander headed to the University of Maryland on a baseball scholarship, won both games for the Owls (15-8) in the state tournament, stopping Huntingtown, 2-0 on a five-hitter in the semifinals. He went 10-1 with an 0.64 ERA and nine complete games, 113 strikeouts and 16 walks in 76 innings. An excellent bunter who batted .423 with 20 RBIs, Harman set several Mononacy Valley career records, including wins (30-4), strikeouts (285), ERA (0.84) and, offensively, hits (99).
Last season's All-Metro Player of the Year and this year's Anne Arundel County Player of the Year continued to rewrite the Arundel record book. Hibbs, a junior pitcher who is also outstanding in the middle infield, set school season records for average (.584), hits (52) and least strikeouts (zero). Hibbs also scored 31 runs, knocked in 20 and had 11 doubles, two triples and a homer - a two-run shot that won the county final over Northeast, 3-1. On the mound, Hibbs went 6-2 with an 0.98 ERA and had three shutouts. The right-hander struck out 86 in 57 innings and gave up 34 hits. Hibbs holds school career batting records for at-bats (267), hits (119) and doubles (33). His 24-7 career pitching record leaves him tied with Kurt Light (1994-97) for second place in wins, behind Neal Herrick (27-4 from 1975-77).
After making the All-Metro second-team last year, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound right-handed pitcher went 9-2 with an 0.45 ERA in 62 innings this season. Jacob, who signed with Georgia Tech to pitch in the Atlantic Coast Conference, struck out 125 to set school season and career records (316) for strikeouts, while walking 12 and yielding just 24 hits. With a fastball in the 88-91 mph range, a hard curve and nasty slider coming from his fluid delivery, Jacob held opponents to a .112 batting average. In three varsity seasons, Jacob went 23-8-3, with 15 wins in his past two seasons and a career ERA of 0.91. He also contributed as a first baseman and batted .293 with four doubles and 11 RBIs.
Kolarek joins Arundel's Tyler Hibbs as the only repeat first-team selections after leading the No. 10 Comets (18-4) to the state semifinals for the first time since 1990. An outstanding left-handed pitcher-outfielder, Kolarek has accepted a baseball scholarship to the University of Maryland. After the disappointment of losing the Class 3A North regional final in 2006 to Franklin, Kolarek struck out 16 in a 14-4 win over the Indians this season. His pitching and batting led the Comets to the state semifinals, where they lost to Centennial, 5-4. Kolarek finished 8-2 and is 13-4 over the past two seasons. Kolarek struck out 102 in 61 innings and posted a 1.05 ERA this season. He hit .397 with 17 runs, 21 RBIs, five doubles, three triples and four homers.
Pleffner, a second-team All-Metro pick last year, graduates as the school's all-time leader in home runs (15) and RBIs (103). He compiled those statistics in three varsity seasons. This season, Pleffner, a left-handed batter, batted .481, drove in 33 runs, scored 18 and hit nine doubles, a triple and five homers. His slugging percentage was a team-leading .818. Pleffner also finished second on the school's all-time list in career at-bats (259), hits (110) and doubles (28). Pleffner, who will play at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College in hopes of getting into a major Division I school or turning pro, also pitched. A right-hander thrower, Pleffner went 5-1 with three shutouts and an 0.83 ERA in 42 innings, striking out 69, walking 18 and yielding just 14 hits.
Rivers played a major role in the Mavericks' two state championships in the past three years. In his four seasons, he has been a part of four state semifinalists and three state finalists. The 6-foot-5 right-hander, who has a baseball scholarship to UNC-Charlotte, led the No. 2 Mavericks in pitching and batting. Rivers was 7-0 on the mound with an 0.70 ERA, 58 strikeouts and nine walks in 50 innings. In his final two seasons, Rivers, a second-team All-Metro pick last year, was 13-1 with 128 strikeouts in 102 innings. He played third base when not pitching and had a team-best .524 batting average with 19 RBIs, four doubles, four triples and four homers.
Winter, the Howard County Player of the Year, became the pitching ace of the No. 7 Eagles, going 7-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 48 innings, striking out 60, walking 32 and giving up 23 hits. The junior's only loss came in the Class 3A state final against Westminster, leaving him 12-1 over the past two seasons and 13-2 in his three-year varsity career. Winter, who was also an excellent outfielder, hit .480 with 25 RBIs, 24 runs scored, five doubles, eight triples, two homers and 16 stolen bases. Winter's most memorable moment occurred in the Class 3A East final, when he hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to beat Fallston, 4-3. With the homer, he hit for the cycle.
Name School Class Pos.
Mike Dillon Calvert Hall Junior Pitcher
Louey Mari St. Paul's Senior Pitcher
T.J. Vernes C.M. Wright Senior Pitcher
Ed Palmer Arch. Spalding Soph. Catcher
Jack Carey St. Paul's Soph. Infield
Austin Harclerode Centennial Senior Infield
Kody Hines Arch. Spalding Junior Infield
Steve Lombardozzi Atholton Senior Infield
Joe Yermal McDonogh Senior Infield
Jason Daniels Arundel Senior Outfield
Josh Kempa Eastern Tech Senior Outfield
Garrett Weinhold Fallston Soph. Outfield
Note -- Teams selected by Pat O'Malley after consultation with The Sun staff and area coaches.
No. School Record 1. Calvert Hall 33-0 2. Eastern Tech 19-2 3. Arundel 17-5 4. Archbishop Spalding 27-10 5. C. Milton Wright 21-2 6. Westminster 15-8 7. Centennial 20-5 8. Fallston 16-5 9. Parkville 15-5 10. Catonsville 18-4 11. Howard 17-5 12. North Harford 15-6 13. Franklin 15-4 14. North County 15-5 15. St. Mary's 15-8 Other teams considered -- Boys' Latin (20-3), Chesapeake-AA (12-7), North Carroll (14-5), Northeast (13-8), Reservoir (15-6).