Calvert Hall claims honor for first time since 2013; Old Mill caps unlikely state title run with No. 2 ranking
by Pat O’Malley
Calvert Hall College proved to be the area’s premier high school baseball team in 2019, nailing down the No. 1 ranking in VSN’s final Top 20.
The Cardinals (24-6) won more games than any other team after dominating the MIAA A Conference winning both the regular season title (16-2) and sweeping the double elimination tournament with a 3-0 mark.
The Cardinals highlighted one of the most unpredictable and parity loaded seasons ever. Don’t mind the pollsters for running and hiding after this season that concludes only three teams from the preseason Top 20 still in the Top 10 in Howard (No. 1; No. 4 in final poll), Dulaney (No. 5; No.3 final poll and Calvert Hall (No. 6; No. 1 in final poll).
However, to restore some creditability for this crazy season, there are still 13 teams in the final Top 20 that were ranked in the preview. Old Mill, one of four Anne Arundel County teams in the Top 10, was the most unlikely state champion this spring, finishing No. 2.
The Patriots began the season at 5-8 after losing their returning All-County second baseman, No. 3 hitter and catalyst Nick Cinquanto to a broken cheekbone and orbital bone after being hit in the face by a pitch in his first at-bat of 2019.
However, Cinquanto became the face of franchise, so to speak, returning around mid-season, inspiring his coaches and teammates as they took on his never quit demeanor and reeled off 12 consecutive victories to finish the season, capped with a thrilling come from behind 4-3 decision in 9 innings over Sherwood in the Class 4A state final at Ripken Stadium.
Old Mill started this season ranked No. 17, but fell out of the Top 20 because of the slow start. The Millersville school kept grinding and climbed back in at No. 17 and last week advanced to No. 10 before the state Final Four.
The Pats (17-8) went on to win their fourth state crown in school history under third-year coach CharliepChaffin. It was the school’s first since 2003.
Coach Lou Eckerl’s Cardinals started this season at No. 6 and moved to No. 2 several weeks ago. As the post season tournaments developed, it became obvious that the Hall was the No. 1 team. Calvert Hall moved to No. 1 last week on the day they would seal the MIAA A Conference championship by 4-2 pover No. 5 Gilman School (22-11).
The championship clincher came after victories over No. 9 Mount St. Joseph, 9-5 and Gilman, 4-3. The Greyhounds lost 3 of 4 games with the Hall this season.
It was the record 12th MIAA A Conference title for the Hall and 28th overall, including an all-time best 16 in the Maryland Scholastic Association (MSA) which became the MIAA.
Four other teams – C. Milton Wright, Fallston, Gerstell Academy and Hereford – are recognized for impressive postseason runs. C. Milton Wright (12-10) dropped a 5-3 decision to James M. Bennett in the 3A state final.
The Stangs finished No. 10 in the final rankings despite 10 losses. They went 5-0 in the playoffs before the Bennett fingame and the run in the 3A is always tough. The Stangs surprised a very good Northern of Calvert County squad with a 4-2 victory in the state semifinals at Joe Cannon Stadium
Wright and Fallston (13-8) play in the competitive UCBAC Chesapeake, and the latter Cougars distinguished themselves by winning the Class 2A East Region. No. 17 Fallston lost to eventual 2A state champion Frederick County’s Middletown. Hereford (12-6) also lost in the 2A state semis to LaPlata 1-0.
Coach Cap Poklemba’s Gerstell Falcons (17-7) stunned the MIAA B Conference faithful, upsetting 3-time defending champion Boys’ Latin School. The Lakers had beaten Gerstell in three previous games, one in the playoffs (14-4), and needed only one win for a fourth straight title.
The Falcons didn’t get the memo and knocked off BL, 6-3 and 6-4. The impressive finish landed Gerstell at No. 19 and Boys’ Latin of coach Bill Greenwell at No. 20 tied with Hereford for the final spot.
Here is the final 2019 VSN Baseball Top 20 poll:
VSN BASEBALL TOP 20 – FINAL POLL
1. CALVERT HALL COLLEGE (24-6)
Previous rank: #1
Last week: defeated then-No. 4 Gilman School, 4-2, MIAA A Conference Tournament finals.
SEASON RESULT – MIAA A CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON & TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS
3. OLD MILL (17-8)
Previous rank: #10
Last week: defeated Sherwood, 4-3, Class 4A state final, and defeated Walt Whitman, 4-3, 4A state semifinals
This week: vs. Walt Whitman at Shirley Povich Field, Class 4A State Semifinals, 7 p.m., 5-21
3. DULANEY (21-2)
Previous rank: #2
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 4A NORTH REGION FINALIST & BALTIMORE COUNTY DIVISION I CHAMPION
4. HOWARD (19-3)
Previous rank: #3
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 4A NORTH REGION SEMIFINALIST & HOWARD COUNTY CHAMPION
5. GILMAN SCHOOL (22-11)
Previous rank: #4
Last week: lost to No. 1 Calvert Hall, 4-2, MIAA A Conference Tournament final at Harford Community College.
SEASON RESULT – MIAA A CONFERENCE FINALIST & MIAA A CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON 2ND PLACE
6. SOUTH RIVER (16-7)
Previous rank: #5
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 4A EAST REGION FINALIST & ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY CHAMPION
7. BROADNECK (16-6)
Previous rank: #6
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 4A EAST REGION SEMIFINALIST, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY FINALIST & ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY REGULAR SEASON CHAMPION
8. SEVERNA PARK (16-6)
Previous rank: #7
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 4A EAST REGION SEMIFINALIST
9. MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (20-10)
Previous rank: #8
SEASON RESULT – MIAA A CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT QUALIFIER & MIAA A CONFERENCE REGULAR SEASON 3RD PLACE
10. C. MILTON WRIGHT (12-10)
Previous rank: #15
Last week: lost to James M. Bennett, 5-3, Class 3A state final; defeated Northern-Calvert, 4-2, 3A state semifinal
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 3A STATE FINALIST
11. ATHOLTON (17-5)
Previous rank: #9
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 3A EAST REGION FINALIST
12. MOUNT HEBRON (11-5)
Previous rank: #11
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 3A EAST REGION QUARTERFINALIST
13. LOYOLA BLAKEFIELD (15-10)
Previous rank: #12
SEASON RESULT – MIAA A CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT QUALIFIER & REGULAR SEAON 2ND PLACE
14. MARRIOTTS RIDGE (13-6)
Previous rank: #13
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 2A SOUTH REGION SEMIFINALIST
15. CATONSVILLE (15-4)
Previous rank: #14
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 4A NORTH REGION QUARTERFINALIST
16. CENTURY (12-5)
Previous rank: #16
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 2A WEST REGION SEMIFINALIST & CARROLL COUNTY ATHLETIC LEAGUE CHAMPION
17. FALLSTON (13-8)
Previous rank: #17
Last week: lost to Middletown, 5-1, Class 2A state semifinals
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINALIST
18. BEL AIR (12-4)
Previous rank: #18
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 3A NORTH REGION QUARTERFINALIST
20t. GERSTELL ACADEMY (17-7)
Previous rank: #20
Last week: defeated then-No. 19 Boys Latin School, 6-4 and 6-3, MIAA B Conference Tournament finals
SEASON RESULT – MIAA B CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
19. BOYS’ LATIN SCHOOL (19-8)
Previous rank: #19
Last week: lost to then-No. 20 Gerstell Academy, 6-3 and 6-4, in MIAA B Conference Tournament finals
SEASON RESULT – MIAA B CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT RUNNER-UP
20t. HEREFORD (12-6)
Previous rank: #20
Last week: lost to LaPlata, 1-0, Class 2A state semifinals
SEASON RESULT – CLASS 2A STATE SEMIFINALIST