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Boys' Latin baseball off to strong start

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Boys' Latin baseball, off to a 5-1 start, has back-to-back league tests this week.

Boys’ Latin baseball coach Bill Greenwell is continuing to build a respectable program at a school where lacrosse is king of the spring.

The Lakers could be taking their biggest step forward in Greenwell’s five years on the job. The proof is in a 5-1 start.

The Lakers' only loss came in a 5-1 setback April 5 to the John Carroll Patriots, who play in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

Boys’ Latin competes in the B Conference.

“This is our most talented team we have had since our championship team in 2008,” Greenwell said of the MIAA B Conference squad coached by former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick. “They are a talented, veteran team. We have depth in both the infield and outfield.

“I have kids who are probably not going to get much playing time. A few years ago, they would have been starters and key players for us.”

The Lakers’ offense features junior second baseman Dom Maggio (batting .565, 9 RBIs, 6 extra base hits), senior shortstop Skyler Morris (.591, 10 runs scored), sophomore first baseman Mark Lopez (.444) and senior right fielder Josh Smith (.333, 4 doubles, 8 RBIs).

Maggio, who will attend Wake Forest University on football scholarship as a punter and kicker, leads the team in batting average and extra base hits.

“We have some very good hitters with line-drive, gap-type of power,” Greenwell said. “We can hit the ball all the way through our lineup.”

Greenwell also likes the team’s defense.

Maggio, Morris, Lopez and first baseman Max Keefe returned to the starting lineup.

Smith anchors an outfield that also includes Sam Bowen and Marquise Washington.

“It’s very good,” Greenwell said of the Lakers' defense. “We have speed in the outfield and solid veterans in the infield.”

The catching position became a concern of Greenwell after senior Drew Gray suffered an elbow injury after the team’s first game — a 15-6 victory over Western Reserve of Ohio.

But sophomore Matt Purnell has stepped up.

“He’s done an incredible job filling in for Drew,” Greenwell said. “Purnell has worked really hard and exceeded our expectations. Gray should return and will share catching duties.”

Boys’ Latin's pitching has Morris, Maggio and junior right-hander Justin Ward in the starting rotation.

“We have a solid pitching staff,” said Maggio’s father, Kirk, a Lakers assistant coach. “When they are on their game, they are as good as anybody out there in the B Conference and maybe even some teams in the A Conference.”

Morris is the ace. He will attend Towson University on a baseball scholarship next year. He went 5-1 last year with 0.48 ERA, giving up 46 hits in 63 innings while striking out 72 batters.

“He can blow it by a lot of guys, but he has the off-speed pitches and the curveball,” Kirk Maggio said. “When they are working, they are unhittable.”

Lopez and senior Liam Madden are also valuable contributors to the pitching staff.

The Lakers will be tested with back-to-back league contests this week at home. They face Glenelg Country School Monday at 3:30 and defending league champion St. Mary’s Tuesday at 4.

Park coach George Cooper thinks Boys’ Latin is the second-best team in the conference.

“Nobody will beat St. Mary’s,” said Cooper, whose team lost to Boys’ Latin, 9-6, in nine innings April 1. “St. Mary’s should be a mid-tier A Conference team. That’s my opinion.

“But Boys’ Latin is up there. They have depth at all positions. He (Greenwell) made some lineup changes and there wasn’t a big drop-off.”

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