Essex native Bielski named national high school baseball coach of year

In the 1980s, many were captivated by the Baltimore Orioles and their future Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken. Growing up in Essex and playing shortstop for Calvert Hall, Rich Bielski was one of them.

Now the coach at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — and this year's USA Today National Baseball Coach of the Year — Bielski remembers a meeting with Ripken that helped shape his aproach to the game.

"I made the state all-star team, and our game was played in old Memorial Stadium after an Oriole game," said Bielski, now 44. "It was 1984 and the Orioles had won the World Series in 1983, and Cal was MVP. It was a great time to be an Orioles...