After three seasons in the shadow of Archbishop Spalding, Cardinals will open 2017 as VSN's top-ranked baseball team; Gilman No. 2; Bel Air No. 3
Teams analyzed for the Top 20 come from 11 conferences or leagues in the VSN coverage area : Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll (Monocacy Valley Chesapeake division) , Cecil, Harford, Howard, MIAA A , B and C conferences and UCBAC (Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
RANK TEAM 2016 FINAL RECORD & VSN RANKING
1. CALVERT HALL CARDINALS 17-12, 3rd place in MIAA A Conference, No. 5
COACH: Lou Eckerl
TOP PLAYERS: Garrett Matheny, C, Sr., AC Chavis, 2B-SS, Sr., Jimmy Elmore, 1B, Sr., Matt Hentschel, RHP, Sr., Brennen Maher, LHP, Sr., JP Murphy, OF, Jr.
FORECAST: Experience (15 returning seniors, 7 of whom were starters), pitching (not overpowering, but a staff that knows how to pitch), catching (blue chipper Matheny who is committed to Radford), defense (strong up the middle – pitching, Matheny, 2B-SS and CF Murphy, who is ranked by Perfect Game as the top OF in Maryland for the class of 2018 and is headed for High Point University) and tradition (27 MSA and MIAA championships, the last in 2013) makes the Redbirds the metro area’s top overall team.
2. GILMAN GREYHOUNDS 18-12, MIAA A conference finalist, No. 10
COACH: Larry Sheets
TOP PLAYERS: Max Costes, 3B-RHP, Jr., Drew Ehrlich, C-RHP, Sr., Charlie Darby, SS, Sr., Michael Willis, OF-RHP, Jr. , Pierce Bennett, 2B, So. , Alex Slodzinski, OF-DH, Jr.
FORECAST: With six returning starters in Costes, Ehrlich, Darby, Willis, Bennett and Slodzinski who led the Hounds to a runnerup finish to Spalding in the MIAA A Conference playoffs, Gilman is ready to challenge Calvert Hall and Spalding for this year’s crown. Costes, who will join his brother Marty at Maryland in 2018 after being named a Top Prospect in the Perfect Game showcase in Georgia last summer and Ehrlich, who was named to the Team Maryland Big 26 Team, are main cogs in ex-Oriole Sheets’ pitch-by-committee successful scheme.
3. BEL AIR BOBCATS 19-4, Class 4A State champs, No. 2
COACH: John Swanson
TOP PLAYERS: Mike Yetter, RHP-SS, Sr., Zack Radcliffe, RHP-OF, Sr., Liam Bowers, CF, Sr.
FORECAST: After losing six seniors including LHP ace-1B Jack Jenkens (8-1, 1.50 and a .366 batting clip with 21 RBIs) from his surprise second state championship (other in 2013), coach Swanson, who begins his 16th season at the Harford County school that is a member of the UCBAC, with confidence the Bobcats can repeat. Captains Yetter and Radcliffe, each of whom pitched a no-hitters in the team’s inspirational run in the 4A tournament, and speedy outfielder Bowers are expected to lead the way. Bel Air opens its season on March 21 in a potential barnburner at No. 1 Calvert Hall.
4. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING CAVALIERS 27-5, MIAA A Conference Champs, No. 1
COACH: Joe Palumbo
TOP PLAYERS: Nick Vermillion, 3B-RHP, Sr., Evan Fochtman, OF, Sr., Brendan Foley, DH-OF, Sr., Jordan Geber, RHP-OF, Sr., Peter Godrick, OF, Jr.
FORECAST: A fourth consecutive MIAA A Conference championship run that would only be topped by Calvert Hall’s five in a row from 2005-09, seems unlikely after the Cavs lost the VSN Pitcher of the Year in Tyler Blohm (9-0, 0.85 ERA) and Co-Player of the Year centerfielder Billy Godrick (.425, 20 RBIs) among seven starters and a total of 15 seniors. Two-sport standout Vermillion, a 6-foot and 245-pound 3B-RHP and football linebacker, is coming off a season in which he batted a robust .364 with 25 RBIs, 15 runs and 7 doubles . Coach Palumbo, whose last three teams have gone 74-11 and went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team last spring, can count on Vermillion for leadership and productivity, but will he get enough help?
5. CHESAPEAKE-AA COUGARS 21-4, Class 3A State finalist, No. 3
COACH: Ken King
TOP PLAYERS: Joe Seidler, RHP-1B, Jr., Dillon Oxyer, 2B-SS, Sr., Blake Rebstock, CF, Sr., Andrew Revels, 3B, Sr., Roland Siwinski, RHP, Sr., Tom McNamara, C, Sr.
FORECAST: VSN Co-Player of the Year as a 10th grader, Seidler is back for an encore season after leading the metro area in wins (11-1) and ERA (0.68) and least hits (43 in 71.2 innings) given up in at least 50 innings pitched to go with 63 strikeouts while also leading the Cougars in batting (.395, 20 RBIs). Seidler’s only loss came in the 4A State final by 4-3 to Huntingtown. Seidler and "four other arms who can throw" according to coach King in addition to the entire returning infield led by Oxyer and an outfield anchored by Rebstock makes the Cougar a strong 3A contender.
6. SEVERNA PARK FALCONS 19-4, Class 4A East finalist, No. 4
COACH: Eric Milton
TOP PLAYERS: Kody Milton, 3B-RHP, Jr., Matt Glady, RHP, Sr., Scott Huntley, SS, Sr., Luke Childress, 1B, Sr., Jake Hallet, INF-OF, Sr., Cameron Clark, RHP-INF, Jr.
FORECAST: Milton, the son of the coach and ex-major leaguer, Eric, is a two-year starter and one of six returning starters and 11 returnees overall . The Falcons were a 4A State finalist in 2015 (20-5) and a region finalist last spring and look to be No. 2 in their area classification behind Bel Air. Milton, a commit to Maryland where his dad pitched, batted .320 as a soph leading the team in homers (5), RBIS (21) and runs (18) and joins Glady (5-1) as the key players in spearheading another successful run. The Falcons and Chesapeake are Anne Arundel’s top two teams.
7. RIVER HILL HAWKS 16-5, Class 3A East semifinalist, No. 9
COACH: Wes McCoy
TOP PLAYER: Kieran Garner, RHP, Sr.,
FORECAST: Garner, the Howard County 2016 Pitcher of the Year, is back with a host of seniors to establish the Hawks as the team to beat in their league and possibly the 3A East region with several other teams including Mount Hebron that knocked them off by 4-2 in the region semis. The Hawks did win their first county title in over a decade as Garner went 5-2 with 92 strikeouts and a 1.27 ERA. An MSABC pre-season All-State pitcher has committed to the University of Maryland.
8. PATTERSON MILL HUSKIES 21-4, Class 1A state finalist, No. 6
COACH: Matt Roseland
TOP PLAYERS: Austin Koehen, RHP-SS, Jr., Max Elliott, OF, Jr., Jake Sheelsey, RHP, Sr., Carson Uebersax, RHP, Jr., Nick Cress, 2B, Jr., Thomas Kragh, OF-3B, Jr., Eric Raley, C, Sr.
FORECAST: The Huskies return 15 players, seven of them starters from last year’s club that won the Chesapeake Division of the UCBAC with two wins over 4A State champion powerhouse Bel Air and went on to drop a 4-0 heartbreaker to Brunswick in the 1A state final. Koehen was the ace going 10-1 with a 1.42 ERA and will lead the deep pitching staff again along with senior Sheelsey (4-0, 2.24). Cress batted .329 and led the team in RBIs while Elliott led the Huskies in batting average (.365) and runs scored (28). Catcher Raley (.316, 20 RBIs) and Kragh (.357, 18 runs) are also back to help make the Huskies a serious 1A State title contender once again.
9. MOUNT HEBRON VIKINGS 16-7, Class 3A East finalist, No. 13
COACH: Brian Culley
TOP PLAYERS: Jack Schroeder, RHP/OF, Sr., Danny Brouse, OF-INF, Sr., Ryan Coakley, RHP, Sr., Mark Lettieri, C-INF, Jr.
FORECAST: With Schroeder returning for his final year before entering Virginia Commonwealth University, the Vikings have 10 more returnees and are expected to b e a contender for Howard County and 3A east region titles. Schroeder, one of the area’s premier two-way players, was 6-2 for the Vikings last season while Coakley was 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA through 20 innings pitched. Brouse, who missed much of the 2016 season due to an injury, managed to score 14 runs and knock in 9 on a .314 batting clip. Lettieri batted .333 and crossed the plate 13 times. Coach Culley is expecting big things from this group.
10. CATONSVILLE COMETS 13-6, Class 4A North sectional finalist, UNR
COACH: Rich Hambor
TOP PLAYERS: Jake Getzendanner, 2B, Sr., Matt Moulthrop, SS, Sr., Kevin Deitz, C, Sr. , Matt Rehder, OF, Sr.
FORECAST: The Comets return four 3-year varsity starters (plus two other starters) and appear to be Baltimore County’s team to beat and a contender in arguably the state’s toughest region - the 4A North that includes favorite Sherwood of Montgomery, defending state champion Bel Air that slipped by Catonsville, 1-0 in the sectional final and also, Dulaney and Perry Hall and Howard. Getzendanner (.456, 11 RBIs) and Moulthrop (.367, 6 2Bs and 10 RBIs) are returning All-Baltimore County performers and they solidify the middle infield. Deitz will again direct the team from behind the dish and Rehder anchors the outfield adding to the confidence of coach Hambor who said, "We expect to contend for the county championship and beyond."
11. OLD MILL PATRIOTS 16-7, Class 4A East semifinalist, No. 11
COACH: CL Chavin
TOP PLAYERS: Jeremy Arocho, SS, Sr., Bryce Jackson, LHP, Sr., Chris Osborn, LHP, Sr.
FORECAST: Chavin was promoted from assistant coach to replace Jeff Martin who has taken on the tedious duties of athletic director at the Millersville school. The first year head coach welcomed back 12 seniors led by bluechip shortstop Arocho, who is headed to Maryland and a pair of promising lefties in Clarion University- bound Jackson (0.74 ERA) and Osborn (1.62 ERA). Arocho batted .435 with three homers, six 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 17 RBIs and 15 stolen bases and his leadership in the middle helps make the Patriots a challenge to Chesapeake and Severna Park in Anne Arundel county.
12. ST. MARY’S SAINTS 15-11, MIAA A Conference playoffs, UNR
COACH: Johnny Poss
TOP PLAYERS: Stephen Pelli, RHP, Jr., Cam Nolet, LHP, Jr., Nick Hopkins, SS, Jr.
FORECAST: Stepping up to the A Conference last season after dominating the B conference, the Saints were very competitive although they managed only one win in the double elimination tournament, 3-2 over third place Calvert Hall. The Pelli – Nolet, right/left duo and SS Hopkins (LaSalle commit) gives the Saints three superb juniors to give the Saints promise in their conference. Pelli fired a one-hitter for a 2-1 upset of top-ranked and eventual A conference champion Spalding to qualify the Saints for the post season tourney. Pelli, who committed to Virginia Tech, has been clocked at 93 mph and is the No. 1 ranked junior in Maryland by Perfect Game that named him to it’s All-American Underclass Team.
13. PERRY HALL GATORS 10-8, Class 4A North sectional semifinalist, UNR
COACH: Joe Carlineo
TOP PLAYERS: Brandon Yu, RHP-SS, Sr. , Devin Karczewski, RHP-SS, Sr., Noah Supensky, CF, Jr.
FORECAST: Nine seniors return including two-way standouts, Yu and Karczewski. Yu is headed to the US Naval Academy in the fall and Karczewski is a senior transfer who will contribute according to coach Carlineo. Supensky will roam the outfield and will swing the bat well from the right side. Carlineo’s Gators were eliminated by Catonsville, 6-5, in the 4A North sectional semis last spring and are looking to get even with the Comets this season in the Baltimore County race.
14. MARRIOTTS RIDGE MUSTANGS 16-6, Class 2A West finalist, No. 12
COACH: Paul Eckert
TOP PLAYERS: Gunnar Barnard, RHP-1B, Sr., Joey Fellona, C, Jr., Josh Olsufka, RHP-3B, So.
FORECAST: When Barnard, a pre-season MSABC All-State and South Region All-Star pitches, the Mustangs are as good as anybody. A two-time All-Howard County selection, Barnard will continue his career at the University of Maryland. The 6-foot-3 and 230-pound hard throwing righthander was 4-1 for the Mustangs in 2016 and is expected to have an even better season this spring. In addition to Barnard, coach Eckert is expecting underclassmen, Fellona and Olsufka to contribute to the Stangs chase for the Howard county title in the wide open league.
15. HOWARD LIONS 16-6, Class 4A North finalist, No. 7
COACH: Nick Hoffner
TOP PLAYERS: Cameron Robinson, RHP-SS, Sr., Sam Jacobson, C-1B, Sr., Connor Williams, RHP, Sr., Jayden Cowan, OF, Sr., Darian Kassiri, INF-RHP, Sr.
FORECAST: Eight seniors return from a season in which the Lions upset highly touted Sherwood of Montgomery County, 5-0 only to drop the ensuing 4A North final to eventual state champion Bel Air by 3-0. Graduation took the Lions’ ace RHP/INF and Howard County Player of the Year, Casey Crawford, but enough talent is back to vie for county and region honors. Leading hitters Cowan (.369, 9 2Bs, 15 runs, 12 RBIs), Jacobson (.361, 14 RBIs), Kassiri (.356, 16 runs, 10 RBIs) and Robinson (.299, 18 runs) will wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. Williams is expected to step up from a 2-0, 0.64 ERA season and pitch more innings.
16. DULANEY LIONS 17-4, Class 4A North semifinalist, No. 8
COACH: Drew Burton
TOP PLAYERS: Drew Bossi, C, Sr. , Ron Dent, SS, Sr., Rick Manzoni, OF, Sr.
FORECAST: Dulaney suffered a disappointing climax to its 2016 season when upset by unranked Catonsville, 7-2, in the region semis and graduation claimed Baltimore County Pitcher of the Year, Garrett Day. Coach Burton does have a senior laden team that has rung up 35 wins over the last two seasons, but the pitching staff has question marks. The Lions have a trio of outstanding position players in Bossi (Christopher Newport commit), Manzoni (St. Mary’s College) and Dent (MSABC All-District) who will have to buoy the offense, especially in early going while the staff gains experience.
17. RESERVOIR GATORS 13-6, Class 3A East quarterfinalist, No. 16
COACH: Adam Leader
TOP PLAYERS: Max Goron, RHP-1B, Sr., Kyle Fehr, OF, Sr., Cameron Hyder, OF, Sr., Trevor Romaine, RHP-INF, So.
FORECAST: Three years removed from the school’s first state title and a 22-2 campaign in 2014, the Gators lost only one senior and expect to compete for the Howard County title and possibly beyond this spring. Goron (3-0, 0.52 ERA) is the ace and hopes to benefit from the bats of lefty Hyder who led the Gators with a .408 batting clip, followed by Fehr (.363) and Romaine (.319). Romaine is the top ninth grader to come through coach Leader’s program since Cody Morris. Leader expects his guys to be in what should be quite a hunt for the gold in Howard County.
18. WESTMINSTER OWLS 15-4, Class 3A West semifinalist, No. 14
COACH: Mark Winebrunner
TOP PLAYERS: Justin Cotter, RHP-3B, Sr., Ryan Mills, 1B-LHP, Sr., Jordan Price, OF, Sr. , Josh Kosmicki, C-INF, Sr.
FORECAST: The defending Carroll County champions return 10 players, four of them key seniors among eight total, but the loss of Brandon Martin (Fordham), RHP-INF, who was the Player of the Year after going 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA on the hill and batting .385 with 21 RBIs has got to hurt. Cotter, who worked 37 innings to post a 3-1 record with a 2.06 ERA, emerges as the ace. The offense is expected to come from Mills (.372, 26 runs, 11 RBIs after batting .389 as a sophomore), who will see action on the mound, Price (.364, 16 runs, 11 RBIs) and Kosmicki (.312).
19. ARUNDEL WILDCATS 16-5, Class 4A East quarterfinalist, No. 15
COACH: Frank Hood
TOP PLAYERS: Michael Prosperi, LHP, Sr. , Matt Moon, C, Sr.
FORECAST: Coach Hood has a senior-laden team with he says "has a good mix of underclassmen and we aim to compete for county, region and state championships by season’s end." Those hopes will be paced by returning All-County southpaw Prosperi, who was 6-2 with an 0.85 ERA and second team All-County 1B Moon who replaces 2nd team All-County catcher Brady Ward and will join Prosperi at Shenandoah University this fall. The Cats also lost All-County centerfielder and catalyst Andrew Cassard (.373, 22 stolen bases) who was brilliant defensively and RHP Matt Looser (4-2).
20. (tie) FALLSTON COUGARS 13-8, Class 2A East finalist, UNR
COACH: Grant Morlock
TOP PLAYERS: Blake Loewe, Sr., Bryce Logan, LHP-OF, Sr.
FORECAST: Losing to Queen Anne’s, 7-4, in the 2A East final last spring, has given the Cougars incentive for the 2017 campaign. Loewe, who led the Cougars with the bat (.415, 11 runs) and will play at Stevenson University next year, and Salisbury University-bound Logan will lead six returning starters. Coach Morlock is optimistic about his team’s fortunes.
20. (tie) NORTH COUNTY KNIGHTS 12-10, Class 4A East quarterfinalist, UNR
COACH: Wayne Feuerherd
TOP PLAYERS: PJ Alvanos, RHP-INF, Jr., Troy Andrzejewski, RHP-OF, Sr., Josh Bathgate, INF, Sr.
FORECAST: The Knights are the sleeper in Anne Arundel County. After posting a barely over .500 record including a crushing 1-0 loss to power Severna Park in the region quarterfinals, the Knights return their entire starting lineup. Six of the senior starters will be playing their third varsity seasons and they won’t be sneaking up on their opponents. Coaches around the county have warned others to keep an eye on them.
OTHER TEAMS CONSIDERED: Aberdeen Eagles (15-7, No. 18), Archbishop Curley (10-12), Bo Manor (16-4), Boys’ Latin (12-8, tie No. 20, MIAA B champs), Eastern Tech (12-10, 2A finalist), Francis Scott Key (16-6, No. 19).Glenelg (13-6, No. 17), Kenwood (15-4), Loyola (18-12), Mount St. Joseph (18-14), North Harford (14-8, tie No. 20), Poly (14-3, Balto. City champs), Severn (17-8, MIAA B runner-up), South Carroll (11-10), St. John’s Catholic Prep (14-1, 3 MIAA C Conference titles in a row ).
Last Updated (Friday, 17 March 2017 11:36)