Category: Anne Arundel Baseball News

Archbishop Curley finishes with 28 wins and the MIAA A Conference title to bolster its top ranking; champions Howard (4A), Century (2A) and Boys' Latin (MIAA B) all gain in final poll


by Pat O’Malley

In a season which saw three different teams reach No. 1 in the VSN Baseball Top 20, the third and final one is MIAA A Conference champion Archbishop Curley, which clearly established itself as the area’s premier jewel. The Friars posted a banner season going 28-4 overall and winning their first MIAA A Conference Championship since 2001.

Howard (4A) and Century (2A) each won their first ever state championship in baseball and Boys’ Latin made it three in a row in the MIAA B Conference as other major highlights from the 2018 campaign.

VSN’s rankings derived from amongst teams from Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford and Howard counties and Baltimore City and that is a huge area. The Friars of coach Brooks Norris, who played on the 2001 team that posted a 23-8 overall record, rolled through the A Conference regular season going 15-3 and added the post season tournament by reeling off three consecutive wins including a 12-2 rout of defending champion Loyola Blakefield.

Paul Nixon, the imposing 6-foot-3, 240-pound senior pitcher/first baseman, was the main force behind the Friars’ juggernaut and senior catcher Trent Gast-Woodard and junior third baseman Tyler Locklear, an MSABC pre-season All-State selection were catalysts as well.

Also spending time at No. 1 this season was Chesapeake-AA (13-7), the preseason choice, and John Carroll’s Patriots (20-6), who won their first 16 games of the season. It was the first time in school history the MIAA A Conference Patriots had reached No. 1 in baseball and they finished No. 5 in the final poll. Curley took over in the A Conference and as the metro area’s top dog on May 7 after five polls, including the preseason edition had been published by VSN.

Chesapeake had a stretch of three straight losses, but rebounded to win its third straight Class 3A East Region title behind Joe Seidler who finished his excellent high school career as the winning pitcher in all three of those finals and a school career record of 25-5. The Cougars lost a tough 1-0 decision to Huntingtown of Solomon’s Island in the 3A State semis missing out on a bid for a third consecutive appearance in the state final.

Howard (20-5) moved from No. 5 to No. 2 in the final rankings by staging a dramatic four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to nip then No. 3 Severna Park, 5-4, to cop the Class 4A State crown. Junior DH/outfielder Ryan Kulick delivered the game-winning knock, a two-run single to center with two outs and two strikes. It was the first state baseball title for Howard County’s oldest high school (opened in 1952) in the 43-year old MPSSAA post season.

Century’s Knights (20-3) notched its initial championship under coach Mike Marrale behind catcher/son Michael Marrale, the two-time Carroll County Player of the Year, as well as outfielder Zach Raico and the pitching duo of Jeremy Lapp and Ethan Kiple. Raico belted a three-run dinger at Ripken Stadium to propel a 4-1 victory over La Plata in the 2A State final.

It was in August of 2001 that Century opened in Sykesville of Carroll County and in the spring of 2002 they fielded their first baseball team.

La Plata upset then No. 4 Marriotts Ridge (17-4) in the 2A South Final preventing the Howard County champion Mustangs from advancing and dropping the latter to No. 7 in the rankings, ironically the berth that Century held at the beginning of the season. In winning the state title, Century was one of just three teams among the seven Carroll County teams to have an overall winning record.

Century won the league with a perfect 12-0 record followed by Westminster (10-7) and Winters Mill (8-7) and the Knights finished No. 4 in the final VSN Top 20.

Veteran coach Billy Greenwell led the Lakers (21-5) of Boys’ Latin to a 3-peat in the MIAA B Conference, defeating Glenelg Country School in the final. The lack of overall strength in the B Conference makes it tough for the Lakers to be ranked among the elite each year, but nothing can be taken away from what Greenwell and his Lakers have accomplished.

St. Mary’s is a prime example of the difference between the MIAA A and B Conferences. The Saints also dominated the B Conference recently for a few years, and decided to move up to the A and in three years up have not made the 6-team double elimination post season tournament.

Finally, Towson cracked the Top 20 at No. 20, sharing the final spot with fellow Baltimore County team Catonsville. The Generals pulled off one of the more stunning upsets in the state public school’s tourney this season when they eliminated then No. 7 Bel Air, 1-0, in the Class 3A North Region final.

The Generals were knocked off in the 3A State semis by eventual state champion Governor Thomas Johnson of Frederick, 11-5. The Generals fell behind early, but to their credit and their coach Bradley Eastham they didn’t quit and played hard to the bitter end. Eastham, who is physical education chairman at his alma mater, announced afterwards that he is stepping down after nine seasons as head coach.

 

Editor’s Note: The VSN Baseball Top is compiled by veteran high school baseball writer and historian Pat O’Malley. He welcomes input from coaches on the poll. He can be reached at 410-647-2499 or patomalleysports@aol.com.

Here is the entire FINAL VSN Baseball Top 20 for 2018:

VSN BASEBALL TOP 20 POLL - WEEK 4

1. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (28-4)

Last week's rank: #1

Last week: defeated No. 17 Gilman, 8-3 MIAA A Conference Tournament Final

This week: Season complete; MIAA A Conference Champion

2. HOWARD (20-5)

Last week's rank: #5

Last week: defeated Bethesda Chevy Chase, 8-3 Class 4A State semifinals; defeated then No. 2 Severna Park, 5-4 Class 4A State Final

This week: Season complete; 4A North Region Champion; Class 4A State Champion

3. SEVERNA PARK (21-4)

Last week's rank: #2

Last week: defeated CH Flowers, 6-4 Class 4A State semifinals; lost to then No. 5 Howard, 5-4 Class 4A State Final

This week: Season complete: Anne Arundel County Champion; 4A East Region Champion, State 4A finalist

4. CENTURY (20-3)

Last week's rank: #12

Last week: defeated Hereford, 9-0 Class 2A State semifinals; defeated La Plata, 4-1 Class 2A State Final

This week: Season complete; Carroll County Champion; 2A West Region Champion; 2A State Champion

5. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL (20-6)

Last week's rank: #3

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; MIAA A Regular Season runner-up

6. ARUNDEL (18-5)

Last week's rank: #6

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; 4A East Region, Section I finalist

7. MARRIOTTS RIDGE (17-4)

Last week's rank: #4

Last week: lost to La Plata, 5-2 Class 2A South Region Final

This week: Season complete; Howard County Champion; 2A South Region Finalist

8. LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD (16-12)

Last week's rank: #8

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; MIAA A Conference Tournament 3rd-place

9. DULANEY (16-4)

Last week's rank: #9

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; Baltimore County Champs; 4A North Region Section I Finalist

10. PATTERSON MILL (16-6)

Last week's rank: #10

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; UCBAC Chesapeake Division Champion; 1A East Region, Section I Finalist

11. BEL AIR (15-3)

Last week's rank: #7

Last week: lost to NR Towson, 1-0 Class 3A North Region Final

This week: Season complete; 3A North Region Finalist

12. CHESAPEAKE-ANNE ARUNDEL (13-7)

Last week's rank: #13

Last week: defeated No. 11 Reservoir, 4-1 Class 3A East Region Final; lost to Huntingtown, 1-0 Class 3A State semifinals

This week: Season complete; 3A State Semifinalist

13 RESERVOIR (17-4)

Last week's rank: #11

Last week: lost to No. 13 Chesapeake-AA Class 3A East Region Final

This week: Season complete; 3A East Region Finalist

14. MOUNT HEBRON (12-6)

Last week's rank: #15

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; 3A East Region Finalist

15. CALVERT HALL COLLEGE (17-11)

Last week's rank: #11

Last week: lost to then No. 17 Gilman, 4-3 and then No. 18 Archbishop Spalding, 4-3 MIAA A Conference Tournament

This week: Season complete

16. NORTH COUNTY (14-7)

Last week's rank: #16

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; 4A East Region Section I Semifinalist

17. GILMAN SCHOOL (15-14)

Last week's rank: #14

Last week: lost to No. 1 Archbishop Curley, 8-3 MIAA A Conference Tournament Final

This week: Season complete; MIAA A Conference Finalist

18. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING (17-13)

Last week's rank: #18

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete

19. BOYS' LATIN LAKERS (21-5)

Last week's rank: Not ranked

Last week: defeated Glenelg Country School, 6-1 MIAA B Conference Final

This week: Season complete; MIAA B Conference Champion

20t. CATONSVILLE (12-6)

Last week's rank: #19

Last week: Did not play

This week: Season complete; 4A North Region Quarterfinalist

 

20t. TOWSON (12-6)

Last week's rank: #19

Last week: defeated then No. 9 Bel Air, 1-0 Class 3A North Region Final; lost to Thomas Johnson, 11-5 Class 3A State semifinals

This week: Season complete; 3A State Semifinalist