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Garrison Forest rides off in a blaze of perfection

The Baltimore Sun

Garrison Forest's riding team finished off a perfect season over the weekend, adding the Tri-State Equitation League championship to the national title it won a week earlier at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association finals.

Garrison had won both events, but never in the same year, coach Jenny Mitchell said.

At the Tri-State event Sunday at Garrison, the home team took high-point rider in three of four divisions - Jennifer Naylor in advanced, Melanie O'Boyle in intermediate and Anna Winslow in novice. Naylor was the overall points leader followed by teammate Gracie Silbaugh, who finished second in the advanced division.

"What makes this team very strong and has made it strong for the last five years is really their commitment to the sport," Mitchell said.

"These kids get up at 4 and 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday to prepare for horse shows, they ride during the week and they take care of tack and take care of the horses afterward. This group of girls has made my job really more rewarding, pleasant and exciting than I could ever have imagined."

Much of the challenge of competition is controlling the horses, which riders draw at random, Mitchell said. The event involves two disciplines, jumping and flat, in which riders are judged on form and on their ability to control their horses as judges give instructions.

Garrison dominated the Tri-State season, which runs the entire school year, winning all four competitions. It defeated second-place Foxcroft of Virginia, 243-168, in points accumulated through the year. On April 18-20 in Springfield, Mass., Garrison won the IEA title over 20 finalist teams, which had advanced from a pool of 110 teams nationwide. It was the school's second IEA title in three years.

Digital Harbor baseball -- To this team, no-hitters are becoming less and less of a big deal. It seems each week another pitcher reaches the feat. On April 9, junior pitcher Mike Sauble threw a no-hitter in a 16-0 victory over W.E.B. Du Bois. Sauble was one error away from a perfect game. Last Wednesday, freshman pitcher Nathan Pitts threw a no-hitter, defeating Forest Park, 21-0, and was one walk away from perfection. In both games, the pitchers earned their no-hitters in five-inning games that were shortened because of the 10-run rule. "For both of them, I don't think we realized it was going on until the end of both games," coach Dave Verdi said. "Strangely enough, they're actually my No. 3 and 4 starters." Digital Harbor, which is 10-1 this season, starts juniors Shaun Merson and Steven Kovalesky as the Nos. 1 and 2 pitchers, respectively. Sauble and Pitts are no slouches, though. Sauble is 4-0 with a 1.13 ERA and 33 strikeouts, while Pitts is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA and 22 strikeouts.

Mount St. Joseph football -- Kirk Brooks, a senior linebacker on the Mount St. Joseph football team, committed last week to an athletic scholarship with Wesley College, a Division III school in Dover, Del. Brooks had 98 tackles and 12 sacks for the Gaels last season. He was thought to be small for a Division I linebacker at 6 feet and 220 pounds, but his work ethic will help him be successful at Wesley, Mount St. Joseph coach Chip Armstrong said.

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