2019 Baltimore-area high school baseball preseason Top 15 poll
By Brian Burden
Mar 19, 2019 | 5:00 AM
Coach: Nick Hoffner
Last season: 20-5, ranked No. 2
Postseason: Class 4A state champion
Outlook: The Lions have reached the Class 4A state final each of the past two seasons, and took home the school’s first state championship in 2018. Veterans Gabe Delgado (UMBC), Brendan Foster (Salisbury), Ryan Kulick (York) and Brian Jakubek (York) lead a talented, seasoned bunch hungry for more titles. Howard is comfortable in tough situations, winning its five playoff games by a combined eight runs in possibly the most difficult path (Catonsville, Dulaney, Urbana, Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Severna Park) to a title last year.
Outlook:The Cavaliers have another deep and talented team ready to make a run in the MIAA A playoffs. First baseman Josh Moylan (.341, 27 RBIs) leads a potent offense. The pitching staff is loaded, with Zach Powers (5-2, 46 Ks), Ethan McCormick (2-1, 3.3 ERA), Justin Caesar (1-1, three saves) and Nate Vermillion (4-1, 2.75 ERA) all already committed or on pace to play at the Division I level. Even sophomore Noah Mrotek, a newcomer, has already committed to Maryland.
Outlook: Led by Parker Landwehr (Boston College), Jose Torres (North Carolina State) and Garrett McIlhenny (Misericordia), Eckerl’s squad is ready to move back up the MIAA A Conference ladder in the playoffs. A developing rotation will be key to Calvert Hall’s postseason success.
Outlook: Although the Dons could not repeat as MIAA A Conference champions, they did make another deep, late run. Ace and Virginia signee Matthew Wyatt (7-2, 2.9 ERA) returns to lead a deep staff that also includes Penn State-Harrisburg recruit Austin Mumma, transfer and Penn commit Nate Beal, Jeffrey Snider, Max Glagola and Josh Feehley. The staff is charged with stabilizing the team’s offense, which has to replace All Metro selection AJ Holcomb (High Point). Junior shortstop Dom Dinoto, an Army West Point recruit, hit .386 last year and will set the tone at the plate in 2019.
Coach: Ryan Wolfsheimer
Last season: 17-4, No. 11
Postseason: Class 4A North Region Section I finalist
Outlook: Wolfsheimer has another strong team as preseason all-state selection Bryce Frederick (.478, four HRs, 22 RBIs) leads the defending Baltimore County champions. Todd Mozoki went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA and batted .310 with three triples as a freshman. He and junior Cole McGee lead a young rotation that Wolfsheimer has for at least the next two years.
6. Archbishop Curley
Coach: Brooks Norris
Last season: 28-4, No. 1
Postseason: MIAA A Conference champion
Outlook: It was a special 2018 season as the Friars won their seventh MIAA A Conference crown and first since 2001. Gone are All-Metro Player of the Year Paul Nixon and a host of other college-bound players, but Tyler Locklear (VCU) leads a group ready and willing to make another run.
Outlook: The Cougars won their third straight region title last spring, but must replace Joe Seidler (Radford) at the top of the rotation and in the lineup. Colton Spangler (.419, 25 SB), Tyler Shadle (.375, 19 RBIs) and Dylan Young (.431, 16 RBIs) will lead the way at the plate. Young and Colby Buckheit (6-2, 1.90 ERA, 45 K’s) lead the pitching staff and give Ken King’s squad its usual bevy of talented arms.
Outlook: The Mustangs return one of the top two-way players in the area in senior Josh Olsufka in their bid to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2008. Olsufka went 8-2 with a 1.45 ERA and is already the school’s career home run leader. Ryan Lee, Gavin Ross and Tyler Vandenberge form a strong pitching staff for the Howard County champs. Nick Dinoto and Aleksei Guzman join Olsufka, Ross and Vandenberge as offensive threats.
9. John Carroll
Coach: Darrion Siler
Last season: 20-6, No. 3
Postseason: MIAA A Conference playoffs
Outlook: Last year was a season to remember as the Patriots won their first 16 games and finished as MIAA A Conference regular-season runner-up. With Ryan Archibald (Arizona) now hitting home runs for the Wildcats, Tyler Blittersdorf (.351, 23 RBIs) takes the lead offensively. He and transfer Tyler Leach were both named preseason all-state. Matthew Gonzalez Rodriguez (.348, .456 OPB) could be in for a big year, and Ben Pika (1.91 ERA), along with juniors Gavin Wingard and Aidan Ruiz, have Siler’s squad positioned for a strong follow-up season.
Coach: Larry Sheets
Last season: 17-15, No. 8
Postseason: MIAA A Conference runner-up
Outlook: Sheets, in his 10th season, has a young team, with several sophomores and juniors playing critical roles. Peter Heubeck (4-4, 59 Ks) leads a young pitching staff that is high on potential, but needs to get the job done in tough MIAA A Conference innings. Pierce Bennett (.357) missed most of last season and is a big returning addition. Gabe Gonzalez (.316, five HRs, 22 RBIs) is expected to build on last year’s breakout season.
11. Severna Park
Coach: Eric Milton
Last season: 21-4, No. 5
Postseason: Class 4A state finalist
Outlook: The Falcons reached the state finals for the second time in four years while winning their third region crown during that time period. For Milton’s squad to head back to Ripken Stadium, Evan Lewis (5-2) and Brendan Simonds (.345, two HRs, 17 RBIs) will need to lead a younger squad that lost Kody Milton (Maryland), Cam Clark (Towson) and George Lesher among a talented 2018 class.
Outlook: The Bobcats have to replace holes on the bump and in the lineup, but Austin Rohlfing, Tyler Shimming and Josh Stocum are three solid arms for Swanson, who is retiring after this season. Juniors Matt Fino, Caden Morris and Sean Conway will also play big roles as the team tries to send Swanson out with his third state crown since 2013.
13. North County
Coach: Wayne Feuerherd
Last season: 14-7, unranked
Postseason: Class 4A East Region Section I semifinalist
Outlook: Led by Jake Murphy (5-0, 0.88 ERA) and sophomore lefty Carson Lowman, the Knights have the arms to navigate a tough Anne Arundel County schedule. Seniors Malcolm Gibson (.356, 17 runs), Shawn Lilly and Nick Biddinger, along with junior Brady Andrzejewski, provide the offense. With Arundel, Old Mill and Severna Park in its section, North County needs to create more offense to advance further in the playoffs.
14. Old Mill
Coach: Charlie Chaffin
Last season: 14-8, unranked
Postseason: Class 4A East Region Section I semifinalist
Outlook: This spring could be special in Millersville. Nick Cinquanto (.419), Ian Adams (.364, 25 stolen bases), Hunter Parish (.344) and Kyle Summers (5-0, 2.82 ERA) lead a contingent that returns all but two players from last year. Six of Chaffin’s players have already committed to the next level, with at least two more in the offing. The Patriots nearly beat eventual Class 4A finalist Severna Park in the playoffs last spring and have the firepower to go much further this year.
Coach: Matt Skrenchuk
Last season: 10-11, unranked
Postseason: Class 4A East Region Section II semifinalist
Outlook: This might be the year Skrenchuk gets his Bruins into the Anne Arundel County championship conversation. Dillon Smith (5-2, 2.70 ERA) leads the rotation while Ryan Stolarczyk (3-0, three saves) closes the door. Matt Isaac (.340, three HRs, 17 RBIs) leads an offense that returns almost every major contributor.
Others considered: Arundel (18-4), Boys’ Latin (21-5), Catonsville (12-6), Eastern Tech (12-7), Mount Hebron (12-6), Mount St. Joseph (11-16), Patterson Mill (16-6), Reservoir (17-4), River Hill (15-6), Towson (12-6)