B Conference 'is on the rise'

Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick is in his second season as coach at Boys' Latin.
Former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick is in his second season as coach at Boys' Latin. (Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.)
The presence of former Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick as a coach in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference has given it credibility, but he is the first to say that he is not the main reason for the perceived higher level of play in the league.

"Just because I played with the Orioles doesn't mean I would come into the league and re-invent the wheel," said Bordick, who is in his second season as coach at Boys' Latin. "There are some really good players in this league, and it makes for great competition. The coaches are dedicated, too, and as a result, I think the conference is on the rise."

The B Conference has vastly improved over the past couple seasons and has some players who would be standouts in the more esteemed A Conference, in which No. 1 Calvert Hall, No. 2 Archbishop Spalding and No. 4 Mount St. Joseph, among others, play.

Top players in the B Conference include St. Mary's pitcher-infielder Austin Poretz, St. Vincent Pallotti catcher Kieran Flannery and Severn right-handed ace Sander Beck.

"Those three were absolutely outstanding for us and can hold their own against anybody in the metro area," said Dean Albany, an Orioles scout who runs the Oriolelanders fall showcase team. "There is no doubt, they make the B Conference a better league than it has been in a long time. When two of them pitch against each other this spring, it will be like watching a high-level A Conference game."

Bordick said that having players such as those in the league "rubs off on the younger players because they have talent and do things the right way, and that only makes the younger players better."

St. Mary's coach Dave Lanham said the B Conference teams are closing the gap by playing 30-game schedules, attracting "good student-athletes" and getting more serious about coaching.

"Taking trips adds to the overall improvement as well," said Lanham, whose Saints traveled to Las Vegas last season and are flying to Tampa, Fla., this spring.

Lanham, who led St. Mary's to last year's B Conference title over Boys' Latin, said this season's Saints team is the best he has had in his six years at the Annapolis school.

"Our 2004 B Conference champion was nowhere near last year's team, and this is my best team this year," he said.

Bordick said the B Conference doesn't compare to the A from top to bottom.

"While [the B Conference] is good baseball, it doesn't have the depth of the 'A' teams," he said.

Pallotti coach Pat Courtemanche agreed.

"We have 12 teams in the B Conference now and that makes it tough, but a lot of fun," said Courtemanche, whose team is playing top Washington-area schools such as Gonzaga, DeMatha, Paul VI, Georgetown Prep and Bullis this season. "The difference between us and the 'A' is that we might have four really good players in the lineup to their nine.

"The big thing is that we lack depth. If we lose a No. 1 pitcher or catcher or shortstop, we're in trouble. Whereas if a Calvert Hall loses a key player, they usually have someone to replace him. That's the difference."

Lanham had a slightly different take.

"I disagree a little bit because, I feel that our team, Boys' Latin and Pallotti could compete in the 'A,' " he said. "But not year to year. Like we would have a chance this year in the 'A,' but after graduation, not next year."


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