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Growth evident for Howard County spring junior varsity teams

Howard County spring junior varsity coaches reflect on the top players and season highlights for their teams

This spring was an eventful season for Howard County high school sports. The Howard boys lacrosse team won its first state championship since 1979, Mt. Hebron baseball won its first regional title since 1980 and played in the state championship game, and the Howard girls lacrosse, River Hill boys lacrosse, and River Hill softball teams all won regional titles.

While the successes of those teams' JV counterparts took place on a much smaller stage, it is those players who will be filling the varsity rosters for state title runs in the years to come. And even MVPs of state championship teams often got their start trying to stake their claim at the JV level.

We contacted coaches and athletics and activities managers at all of the local high schools to share the stories of their JV teams from this spring, and here is what we heard.

Boys lacrosse

Led by Jake Peretti, Atholton finished around the middle of the pack with a 5-7 record.

Peretti finished the season with 19 goals and 11 assists before moving up to varsity late in the year, and Matt Schaab was a late addition but answered the need for a goalie.

He saved 51 percent of his shots and allowed four or fewer goals in four games.

Paul Ciccone was another standout for the Raiders, finishing with 11 goals and nine assists.

"Ciccone was a great dodger with excellent vision and left many of his opposing players wondering, 'how did he do that?'," coach Wendell Thomas said.

Despite losing 10-9 to River Hill, Thomas said that game was the beginning of a turnaround.

"After being down by six goals in the first half, we tied the game in the final minutes of regulation play, 9-9," Thomas said. "Both teams had opportunities to score during the overtime, but finally River Hill found the back of the net late in the period with only seconds to go in the game. This game was not only exciting to watch but also told us what we were capable of doing."

Glenelg finished the season 11-1, with its only loss coming against Howard.

Garrett Hesen, Michael Autry, Johnny Chaisson, Connor Hughes, Cory Willson and Robbie Noyes were the key contributors for the Gladiator's success.

"They demonstrated great versatility and tenacity," said coach Jeff Shear. "Generally speaking, they are a very young team, but they showed a great dedication to the program."

Though Hammond didn't finish with the record it may have hoped, several sophomores stepped up and proved ready for varsity next spring.

Camren Crute led the offense with seven goals and 60 ground balls, while Michael Campo (five goals, 42 ground balls) and Ty Walburger (four goals, one assist, 48 ground balls) also contributed.

Coach Matthew Bounds was proud of the way his team battled and never gave up in any game throughout the season.

"We, as a program, have stressed from the first day of camp to hustle and give it your all out on the field each and every game," he said. "We made that the first point of emphasis."

The physicality the Golden Bears brought each night was also a key to the team.

"The last two years we have been able to recruit some football players over to lacrosse," he said. "I've always told them that I will never get mad at them for being physical as long as it is within the rules."

Other contributors were Noah Wadsworth, Nick Pekins, D'Andre Veney and Armin Najafabadi.

For the second time in three years, Howard finished the season undefeated with a 12-0 record. The offense averaged more than 14 goals per game, while the defense allowed less than three goals per contest.

Mark Bruner (27 goals, 25 assists), Patrick Sutch (34 goals, 26 assists), Ben O'Conner (32 goals, 16 assists) and Will Rund (17 goals, 12 assists, 67 percent face-off, 58 ground balls) led the offense. Matt Moran, Thomas Lucido and Nathan Handwerk controlled the midfield.

"A lot of our success was created by the work the sophomores put in during the offseason. The guys work really hard all year to put themselves in the best possible position to be successful during the season. They bought in to the culture that the players before them have set," coach Matthew Hanson said.

Defensively, Andy Chalfant, Dayton Fischer, Wesley Mills and Robby Porter were key players.

Beating Marriotts Ridge on an overtime goal from Patrick Sutch was the biggest win of the season for the Lions.

Marriotts Ridge finished near the top of the county with a 10-2 record, and took undefeated Howard to overtime while beatting top teams Atholton, Centennial, Mt. Hebron and River Hill.

Luke Goonan won 82 percent of his face-offs, and Noah Lyu and Josh Jeffries helped Goonan on the offense.

Along with sophomores Andrew Geiger, James Slack and Reed Kenny, midfielders Charlie Menton and Logran Frank averaged more than three points per game.

"Connor Choi led the Mustang defense, keeping a 77 percent save percentage in the goal, while left-side midfielders Alec Stevens and Ryan Geier provided take-away pressure and breaks from up top," coach Abe Dyer said. "Combined with Sam Dawes, Drew Lauer and Chris Spano, our defense kept our goals-against to an average of six goals per game."

Like the varsity squad, Mt. Hebron finished as one of the top teams in the county with a 9-3 record.

Team captains Nolan Aberdeen, Shaber Ahmad, Nick Brown, Torey Jones and Karson Porter led the Vikings, while freshmen Jamison Hulbert, Simon Perna, Joey Schwartz and Glen Turner complemented the sophomores.

"My assistant coach, Mickey McCarthy, and I were very proud that our team was firing on all cylinders at the end of the year," said coach Mike Tittsworth. "The process of how well we forged together as a team was the highlight of the season for us."

Despite several players that had never played lacrosse before, Oakland Mills beat Wilde Lake, Long Reach and Meade late in the year to finish 3-3 in its final six games.

"We gained valuable knowledge and experience that will be invested for the future," coach Trevor Shea said. "As a team we had a growth mindset approach, constantly working to get better in each practice and every game no matter what the situation or score. Over the course of the season our team learned the game and developed both offensively and defensively becoming more structured, functioning and productive."

Shea added that the program hopes to continue to convince basketball, football and soccer players and wrestlers to play lacrosse in the spring.

"When you mix all those athletes into the melting pot of spring lacrosse, over time we aim to create a competitive Howard County lacrosse program," he said.

River Hill finished the season 9-5 thanks to Cory Marciniak leading the offense and Liam Donovan controlling the defense.

Goalie Gabe Vineyard and other rotating captains Connor Rose, Wil Ferrer and Connor Lawrence also had big seasons for the Hawks.

"The highlight of the year was having all 11 sophomores finish on the field together in the last game," said coach Kennedy Paynter.

Girls lacrosse

Atholton finished the season 5-8, but coach Taylor Stetka said the girls learned a lot throughout the season.

"The girls learned so much this season — about lacrosse, being an athlete and being a well-rounded individual — that I consider this a winning season," she said. "The girls came together as a group and developed a lot of skill, and just had fun."

Stetka said the victory over Reservoir and the loss to Howard were games that stood out.

Against the Gators, "the lead consistently went back and forth, and the girls were forced to dig deep. However, they rose to the challenge and came away with the win," she said.

In the game versus the Lions, there was a miscommunication on the date of the game and Stetka was nervous about the mindset of the girls after the contest was scheduled the day after a loss.

"We tried a lot of different things we had been working on, and despite a five-goal differential, the girls played hard until the very end," she said. "As a coach, I couldn't have asked for more."

Tori Raulin, Christianna Kelley, Sam Clearfield and Ally DeLuca were key players for Atholton.

Glenelg finished as the top team in the county with a 12-0 record and dominating wins over Marriotts Ridge, Mt. Hebron and Centennial.

Kendall Dillard led the team in goals (29) and assists (19), and also took the draws.

Freshmen Maddy O'Brien (29 goals) and Rachel Scheinber (21 goals, 16 assists) finished at the top of the scoring sheet as well for the Gladiators.

The defense, however, was the key to the team's success this spring.

"The defense only gave up 20 goals on the year and never allowed more than four in a game," coach Chris Beil said. "Goalie Maddie McSally had a great year as she closed games out."

Wins over the Vikings (13-4) and Mustangs (10-2) were season highlights, but Beil said the win over Centennial was the most stressful.

"We trailed for the first time all year in that game but the girls responded well in a 17-4 win," he said. "This is probably one of my best teams I have ever had. There weren't too many weaknesses on this team. They played solid defense, and they were unselfish on attack, as we had 117 assists on 191 goals on the year."

Hammond finished the season 2-11, but coach Amy Holly said the girls "really came together and pushed each other to become better."

Claudia Rodriguez-Jones was the Golden Bears' top scorer, Megan Mantsch contributed all over the field, Caitlin Pettengill was a key midfielder, and Amirah Hewitt was a team captain and leader.

"They held each other accountable, and improved so much over the season," Holly said. "Ending the season with a win against Long Reach was an awesome motivator for the girls to work hard throughout the offseason."

Howard finished the season with a 7-4 record, and coach Kelly Borth said the team had a very successful season.

Maddie Land was the Lions' best midfielder and led the team in goals, while goalie Tori McGlone was consistent in the net.

"(McGlone) had an incredible 13 saves in the first half of our first game against River Hill," Borth said. "Our first win against River Hill was a big victory and a standout moment for the season. We had a tough loss to them last year so it was great to come back this year and earn the big win."

Like the varsity team, Marriotts Ridge finished the season near the top of the county with a 9-2 record.

Captains Emma Woodbury, Bri Held and Katie Sharbaugh led the Mustangs, especially through the beginning of the season in games against Mt. Hebron and Glenelg.

"Overcoming a loss to Glenelg with a thrilling overtime win versus Mt. Hebron, we were set into a good rhythm and maintained our winning ways for the remainder of the season's county games," coach Kelsey Bassolino said.

The attack, led by Emilie Kim, Faith Schank and Emma Woodbury, scored more than 10 goals per game, while goalies Taylor Huston and Hannah Miller and defenders Camila Ranta, Hope Morath and Meghan Quinn helped lead the defense.

"Midfield standout players this season included freshmen Shay Clevenger and Bailey Christianson," Bassolino said. "Shay's strong presence in game action began with the draw and continued elsewhere on the field. ... Bailey was a key player in draw controls, transitioning the ball up the field, goals, assists, and communicating on the field."

Despite returning only three players from last year's team, Mt. Hebron finished with an 8-3 record.

The team scored 139 goals with 49 assists to average more than 12 goals per game.

"One of the season highlights was coming from behind to tie Marriotts Ridge to take the game to overtime," coach Jeannette Ireland said. "Even though we didn't win the game it was rewarding to see the girls compete."

Julia Leishear, Jen Luzhansky, Annie Ryan and Kaitlin Rice were key contributors for the Vikings.

"It was exciting to see how this team improved over the course of the season with the experienced players helping the younger players," Ireland said. "The girls worked hard on their stick skills as well on their understanding of the game."

Led by Maddie Petrusky and Jessie Guschait, Reservoir finished the spring with a 5-6 record.

Petrusky scored 24 goals, added five assists and won 19 draws as a midfielder, while Guschait found the net 26 times and assisted on four tallies.

Eva Macek and goalie Emily Fourney were the key to the defense.

Coach Lindsay Beil said the Gators' win over River Hill was a game that stood out among the rest.

"The days leading up to that game we really worked on overall game and clock management — making smart decisions of when to push the ball to goal, when to pull wide offensively to slow things down and draw the defense out for easier one-on-ones and back-door cuts," Beil said. "I definitely felt like all of the girls played a very smart game and we played as a whole team."

River Hill ended the season 5-6, but coach Jay Bond said "to judge the success of a season by wins and losses is to ignore the multitude of small individual accomplishments that make the overall experience rewarding."

The Hawks opened the season with a loss to Howard, but bounced back with a win over Atholton, which "bolstered the girls' confidence."

"Back to back losses to Centennial and Glenelg proved to be learning experiences that helped sweeten the subsequent victory over Wilde Lake," Bond said. "If more is learned from losses than wins, dropping the next three games to Mt. Hebron, Reservoir, and Marriotts Ridge was tantamount to earning a Masters in competing."

Of 14 girls to play on the attack or midfield, 13 scored goals.

"That is the type of individual growth that allows a coach to claim that a losing season had been a successful one," Bond said.

Though Wilde Lake finished near the bottom of the county standings, the Wildecats overcame many challenges and inexperience.

Captains Desmyn Stevens, Sahar Zoghi and Audrey Fioretto led the young team, while Katie Aubin was the leading scorer and go-to player.

Aubin "set the pace of every game," coach Michael Rhodovi said. "Often she put the team on her back in difficult situations and elevated the play of those around her."

Sahar Zoghi (11 goals, four assists), Nicki Blair (five goals, four assists), Ashley Comeau (three goals, three assists) and Desmyn Stevens (four goals, 11 assists) led the offense, while Audrey Fioretto and Elana Orzach were the top defenders.

"It's truly amazing the level of commitment and effort the girls put in to avoid what many had thought would've been a disastrous season," Rhodovi said. "Instead, they never quit on each other. 1-2-3-'Family' became our mantra, and as a result they ended up winning two out of the last three games."

Softball

Atholton finished with a 0-16-1 record, but there were still some stand out players and performances.

Ruth Glenn led the offense, Caroline Siil made some great plays defensively and Cori Bautz provided tremendous leadership. The team's season highlight was a tie against Oakland Mills.

"Even though we did not come away with a win, we improved in both hitting and fielding throughout the season," coach Lisa Daciek said.

Thanks to the leadership of sophomores Grace Calloway, Riley Vigderhouse (MVP), Morgan Altman, Suqi Wu and freshman Meg Thompson, Centennial played to a winning record of 8-7-1.

Under first-year coach Jarrett Emery, the Eagles "really stepped up and adopted the position of player-coach, providing the less seasoned players with guidance and support," according to Emery. "These sophomores stressed and focused on the basic fundamentals of hitting and fielding."

First-year player Hanna Haj-Hamad cemented herself as the future shortstop of the team, while freshmen Mia Smith, Christine Youn and D'vanya Hammond provided support in the outfield.

Jessica Bell, Peyton Dilworth, Wallaki Gray and Kyla Mitchell supported the team by playing a number of positions and contributing to the offense at the plate.

Despite sustaining a midseason injury to starting pitcher Shannon Milligan, Glenelg delivered an excellent season, finishing 12-1-1 against county competition.

The Gladiators defeated traditional rival Howard after several years of futility.

"They are tough competitors every year and we really enjoyed playing against them," coach Michelle Oland said. "This was a game where our team had to really be playing at 100 percent."

The team's lone tie came at Marriotts Ridge, but Oland was pleased with the overall result.

"Our starting pitcher was injured so it took creativity and resolve on the part of our team to figure out how to battle back from being down a few runs," she said. "This was the most fun game we had because the girls came together and fought as team."

At Long Reach, the Gladiators didn't have a back-up ready for Milligan (.780 OBP, 3.67 ERA) so first baseman Jenna Barth, who hadn't pitched in years, stepped up and struck out seven batters to earn her first high school victory on her 16th birthday.

Glenelg's offense was led by Erin Cauley (32/42, .762 AVG, .837 OBP, 25 RBI), Katie McIntyre (34/42, .810 AVG, 3 HR, 23 RBI) and Keri Stevens (22/32, .688 AVG, .815 OBP).

Considering the fact that Hammond had only three players on its 15-girl roster with any prior softball experience, the Golden Bears' three wins and a tie should be considered a successful campaign.

Makayla Buecker, Makayla Hill and team captain Abby White guided the young team under the supervision of coach Donna Wilson.

They "set the goal high from the beginning of the season with a goal of having a high on-base percentage and establishing themselves as a hitting and running team," Wilson said. "When players got on base, they usually could score through smart base running and timely hitting."

Just as temperatures rose after a brutally cold early spring, so did the skills of the young team, with every player developing and contributing key plays.

Outfielders Samantha Fuller, Natalia McGann, Roma Adu-Osei, Amika Smart, Blessing MacPepple and Leah Manu; and infielders Maddie Meyer, Grace Lee, Rachel Wattanarungsilrjorn, Rhianon Reilly, Isabelle Dyson and Jaymee Schoditsch all supported a solid Hammond defense.

The true unsung heroes of the team were pitchers Makayla Beucher and Abby White, while catcher Makayla Hill emerged to earn MVP honors.

Howard was one of the county's top teams all season, finishing with an overall record of 13-2-1.

Coach Jen O'Neill was especially impressed by how quickly the team came together, despite the fact that the Lions had only one sophomore, and 12 talented freshmen.

"Both pitchers were new to the team this year. There were some growing pains throughout the season, but overall we did very well for how young we were," she said.

Emily Stokes was the workhorse of the pitching staff, taking the mound in 10 games and throwing 41 innings. She allowed only 21 runs (13 earned) for an ERA of 2.24, and struck out 58 batters.

Emma Braswell led the offense with an .826 AVG, an .857 OBP, six doubles and two home runs. She was called up to varsity near the end of April.

Jessie Yienger, the only sophomore on the team, had the second highest batting average (.533) and led the team with 27 RBIs.

Kelli Burnett led the team with 11 stolen bases, and Emma Williamson was the team leader with nine 2-out RBIs.

"The true test of our season came in our first game against Reservoir," O'Neill said. "They were a true competitor. We hosted them and were winning 5-4 going into the seventh inning. We gave up two runs and now faced the potential of our first loss in six years. We ended up tying the game, 6-6 … a tie was not a loss, but was definitely a wake up call."

Long Reach played to a .500 record, with team captain Allie Lerman leading the way.

She "really took charge of our newer players and made sure that our team came together as a cohesive unit," coach Steven Satterfield said.

Kasey White was the team's most versatile player. She stepped in to become the back-up pitcher, and also played center field and shortstop.

"In every position, Kasey gave 100 percent and demonstrated both talent and leadership," Satterfield said. "She also was a valuable mentor to our newer players."

The highlight of Long Reach's season was a win over River Hill in the Lightning's home opener

"It was a great way to start our season and inspired our team," Satterfield said. "We came a long way in a short amount of time, with limited practices because of the weather … At the end of the season, each player wrote notes to the other players on the team (about) something memorable they would carry away from the season. It was a powerful way to end the season and allowed the team to share both their love of softball and support of one another. I'm very proud to have served as their coach."

With 10 wins, 3 losses and a tie, Mt. Hebron had a strong spring and the team really spent a lot of time early in the year focusing on hitting. The hard work in the batting cages showed, with the offense batting a combined .532. As a team, the Vikings had 180 hits (50 for extra bases), scored 214 runs and had all 12 players post an on-base-percentage of .500 or better.

Inidividually, sophomore Jordon Malcolm and freshman Erin Rogers did the most damage by hitting for a .742 and .738 average, respectively. The two combined for 33 RBI, 61 runs scored, 33 walks and they only struck out twice.

Other major offensive contributors were sophomore Alex Marasa and freshman Tori Mannarelli.

On the defensive side, sophomore pitcher Katherine Staff led the way with seven wins and three losses, averaging over nine strikeouts per game. Mannarelli and Maya Barnes were the team's other pitchers.

Among the season highlights was an 11-11 tie with River Hill, where sophomore Iman Whyte hit a home run over the left-field fence on her birthday.

"My best memory of the season was watching how this team pulled together during the grind as we finished the season playing 10 games over 16 days," coach Bob Gibbons said. "We went 7-3 during this time and I know there were a lot of sore arms and bodies, but they just kept working even harder."

The record may not have showed it, as Oakland Mills finished 1-10-2, but coach Jessica Pulliam says it was a great building year for the Scorpions' program.

"This record in no way reflects the improvements in play that the girls exhibited," she said. "Together, they endured the physical and mental stress of just how difficult this sport is ... statistics do not show the endurance, determination and strength that these fine women possess."

Jordyn Reese and Kayla Burch-Strong served as team captains through the season for the Scorpions.

"The team worked extremely hard to build a foundation of athletic abilities, knowledge of the game and cohesion as a squad this year and for future success," Pulliam said.

Reservoir competed with the top teams in the county and battled for the league's best record, finishing 13-2-2 in the county standings.

Emma Bailey and Kristen Loo delivered consistency on the pitcher's mound, and used their athleticism to play solid defense in the field when they weren't pitching.

Jessica Phipps was a rock behind the plate for Reservoir, catching every game. Offensively, the Gators had seven players with batting averages over .400, including Katy Wnuk-Fink and Rachel Hahn, who batted above .500.

The Gators battled in every game they played, with notable wins over Glenelg, Mt. Hebron and River Hill. The best win of the season came against the previously undefeated Howard Lions.

"The girls played solid defense and manufactured runs when they needed them," coach Sarah Ragusa said. "Throughout the season (they) worked hard to learn the game and improve their skills so when they took the field they were able to produce quality team wins."

River Hill finished the spring with a record of 8-7-1, led by returning players Bianca Brade, Victoria Koutras, Missy Kum and Emily Jones.

"The girls practiced great patience, mental fortitude, and displayed a strong will and determination to reach their goal of 'Improve Everyday'," coach Andrew Matsunaga said.

After losing their first five games, the Hawks never gave up and showed resiliency, winning eight of their last 11 games and tying one.

Brade and freshman Amanda Tossman formed a great pitching duo, each earning multiple wins. First-year catcher Mia McCormick helped the team with both her bat and solid play behind the plate. Freshman Chloe Lee made numerous great defensive plays throughout the season.

The Hawks' first-year players stepped up to improve everyday, which was reflected in their progress as student-athletes throughout the spring.

Baseball

It was a successful season for Atholton, which finished with a 12-6 record. Among the season highlights was earning a 5-4 victory over Howard on the second-to-last day of the season.

Will Stevens finished as the Raiders' leading hitter with a batting average of .500, while Jack Lawrence led the team in RBI (19). Stephen Frazier finished as the team's "most effective" starter, according to coach Dave Appleby, and ended up with an ERA of 1.85.

Centennial improved as the year went on en route to ending up with an 8-9-1 record overall. "The team made great strides this season, playing its best baseball the second half of the season," said coach Ron Pusloskie.

Sophomores Sean Cooley (C, 3B), Steve Sedlacko (CF, SS) and Greg Sterenberg (1B, P) were the team leaders. But freshman Jake Watson, an anchor defensively at shortstop, freshman Josh Horen Held, a standout catcher, and freshman pitcher Todd Hendrix were all strong contributors as well.

It was an all-around team effort that helped Hammond finish with a 10-8 record.

"The young men on this team showed their determination and proved their character in the way they carried themselves on and off the field," coach John D'Angelo said. "No matter the challenge, our team was able to conquer it."

Joseph Sarich developed into the staff ace. According to D'Angelo, Sarich "not only dominated on the mound, but he also inspired his teammates with a never-say-die attitude."

Jason Walls had a great arm at catcher and caught several opposing runners trying to steal, while JJ Woodson led the offense this spring with a great mix of hitting for average and hitting for power.

The outfield group of Marcus Anderson, Darren Allen and Landon Phan showcased tremendous range.

Howard put together a memorable spring, posting the county's best record of 14-1 and outscoring its opponents 232-49.

Pitchers Tim Jakubek and Connor Williams had big years on the mound to lead that defensive effort, but Darian Kassiri was also a defensive standout. As a team, the Lions committed just six errors on the season.

Offensively, Kassiri, Ryan Vale, Matt Flynn, Craig Wiley, Ryan Kearney, Jake Alagna and Hayden Crumback all had big seasons.

Long Reach's record of 4-12 doesn't define how successful the season was for the program. And it is the development of this crop of players that has coach Joe Novotny excited for the future.

"The team has grown by leaps and bounds this past season," Novotny said. "Our record does not show it, but we played hard and developed into formidable challengers as the season progressed. The freshmen class is strong and full of potential over the coming years for Long Reach baseball."

Among the season highlights was the team's game against Hammond, where freshman Steve Buczynski started his first game at pitcher. He kept things close all day, pitching a complete game, and the offense delivered in the late innings — including a big bases-loaded hit by Sam Haley — to pull out the win.

On the season, Tavares Turner was the Lightning leader at the plate with a .487 average that included 19 hits and 9 RBI. Corey Frock was right behind him with a .469 batting average on 15 hits. He was also the team's top pitcher with two complete games and 20 strikeouts.

Other standouts were Joe Mondy and John Shupe. Mondy was a top defensive outfielder, the team's stolen bases leader (18) and posted a batting average of .350 to go with 14 runs scored. Shupe was the team's starting shortstop, finishing with a .395 average, 17 hits, 17 runs scored and 17 stolen bases.

Marriotts Ridge shined this spring on the way to a 12-4-1 record. The team's tie came against Reservoir in a 0-0 game that saw freshman Dylan Anagnos pitch eight scoreless innings.

The sophomore trio of Colin Kratochwill, Nick Molinaro and Max Mahon were leaders throughout the season. All three of them finished with batting averages over .500 and Mahon led the team with four triples.

After a slow start to the season, Mt. Hebron won six out of its last nine games to finish with an overall 8-8 record this spring.

A turning point in the season was a 2-1 victory against Northeastern over Spring Break.

"After losing the first two games of our season, we played one of our best games," coach Eric Gibbons said. "We were able to parlay that victory into what we used the rest of the season to build on and grow our confidence."

Ryan Coakley and Michael Mason led the Vikings' pitching staff, while Mark Lettieri, Jordan Bilbey and Jake Lloyd led the offense.

Reservoir finished as one of the county's top teams, posting an overall record of 15-2-1. Coach Zack Nunn was especially pleased with his team's ability to adjust to many different situations, including schedule complications and roster changes.

"With many four-game weeks and even double headers, strong defense and pitching helped us win some close games," Nunn said. "After our ace, Max Goron, was called up to varsity, as well as our shortstop Arush Gupta and centerfielder Kyle Fehr, many guys were shuffled into different positions and did a great job."

The team's tie came against Marriotts Ridge in an eight-inning game that ended 0-0.

"It was great being part of a game that was all about pitching and defense at the JV level," Nunn said.

Wilde Lake finished the season 1-13, getting its victory against Oakland Mills by a score of 12-5. While that was the only win, the team was far more competitive than it had been a season earlier.

"The team last year struggled to stay in games and compete," coach Tom Abel said. "This year showed great growth and ability to play fundamental baseball. The team turned eight double plays and was competitive in most games."

The Wildecats had six out of nine starters bat for an average of over .300, including sophomore Jackson Shaffer posting a team-best average of .351 (13 hits). Shaffer also led the team at pitcher, with 10 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.

Frank Baleno had a .333 batting average and co-led the team in stolen bases with 11, tying Kameron Martin. Baleno also had team highs of four doubles and eight walks.

Isiah Brazil, who finished with a .316 batting average, showcased his speed as well with 10 stolen bases.

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