In June, the Maryland baseball team lost the program's best-ever pitcher to the Boston Red Sox. A month later, the Terps were happy not to lose his heir apparent to the Orioles.

A 17th-round pick in last summer's draft, Tyler Blohm (Archbishop Spalding) passed on signing with his hometown club in July to honor his commitment to Maryland. He'll next be eligible for the draft after his junior year in College Park, which means that the Terps will follow three years of All-American Mike Shawaryn with another three of a left-hander who has "progressed about as quick as any guy I've been around," according to coach John Szefc.


Blohm, the Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year and Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year after going 9-0 with 103 strikeouts and an 0.74 ERA last season, has had "a really good preseason," said Szefc, whose Terps open their season Friday in Clearwater, Fla., against Ball State. "He's going to pitch when it matters, in one role or another."

Friday was the deadline for teams to sign players selected in last month's Major League Baseball draft. For Archbishop Spalding graduate Tyler Blohm, that meant choosing between signing with the Baltimore Orioles or honoring his commitment to pitch at the University of Maryland.

Even with the departure of Shawaryn, a fifth-round pick, a couple of other Baltimore-area players are already well established as weekend starters. Crofton's Taylor Bloom and Pylesville's Brian Shaffer (North Harford), both junior right-handers, posted ERAs under 2.65 last season in breakout years. Senior right-hander Mike Rescigno was named the top prospect in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League after a strong summer for the Baltimore Redbirds, and sophomore right-hander Hunter Parson was the league's Pitcher of the Year.

But Blohm will find a role somewhere.

"I can't exactly tell you what number starter or whatever he's going to be, because I just don't know that yet," Szefc said. "But I'd be really surprised if he wasn't right in the thick of things on the weekends. Like, sooner than later."

Phillips rejoins team: Sophomore Billy Phillips, whose struggle with cancer as a Terps recruit became a source of inspiration during the 2015 team's run to the NCAA tournament super regional, has returned to the team.

Phillips completed chemotherapy for leukemia and a bone marrow transplant during what would have been his freshman season in College Park. According to the GoFundMe in his name, he was diagnosed with graft-versus-host disease last year after his transplant and was hospitalized.

But Szefc said Phillips, a left-hander who starred at St. Mark's (Del.), rejoined the team in August. He has put on over 15 pounds since, regaining some of the strength he lost, and tried to be the best teammate possible, if only because he's not expected to contribute immediately.

Terps recruit Billy Phillips fighting leukemia, pulling for the team that roots for him.

"It's kind of been a long time for him coming because he was supposed to come a year earlier, and obviously, the guy's been through an awful lot before he finally came to school," Szefc said. "It's never been, 'Hey, you know, you've got to jump back in and do this or do that.' It's just been, like, hang around the group, step in when you want to, be around [pitching coach] Ryan [Fecteau] and the pitching staff, blend in, get your strength back and let's see where it goes. ...

"The best part about Billy is his attitude. He's got a really positive attitude. He understands he can't push himself too fast. And so he's been really patient. I would say patient, but persistent. I think he's a good guy to be around every day, just like a lot of our other guys. We really haven't separated him from the group outside of not having to do some physical things that he's not ready for. But I just think he likes being a part of the group and being involved in it and gradually being able to work his way back."

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