Gaels move to No. 10; Century gets in gear and enters poll; Calvert Hall now at No. 2


by Pat O’Malley

Rookie head coach Phillip Kraska has guided his Mount St. Joseph Gaels to unprecedented heights in high school baseball and the rankings that accompany the sport, Calvert Hall continued its climb and defending Class 2A State champion Century of Carroll County makes its first appearance to highlight this week’s VSN Baseball Top 20.

After two straight losing seasons and a 76-70 cumulative record over the last five years, St. Joe is on the upswing under 2004 graduate and now coach Kraska who has led his alma mater to a 7-2 start overall and a believed to be record leap of 10 places in the VSN poll from No. 20 to No. 10. This past week propelled the Gaels’ surge.

On Tuesday Brown University right-hander John Torroella, an MSABC preseason All-State choice, spun a no-hitter with 12 strikeouts to blank then No. 2 ranked Archbishop Spalding, 3-0. Two days later the Gaels defeated No. 9 Gilman, 8-5 to raise their MIAA A Conference record to 5-1, one game behind leader and No. 2 ranked Calvert Hall (12-2, 6-0). It was Gilman’s first league loss and the Greyhounds fell a game behind St. Joe when they lost their next conference contest by 8-2 to Spalding on Friday.

Kraska, a reserve p-c-of, played on the 2004 team that last won the MIAA A Conference championship under coach Dave Norton, who is a member of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame and the current principal of St. Joe, also his alma mater. The Irvington school would love to see history repeat itself in 2019.

First-place Calvert Hall, last an A Conference champion in 2012 and 2013, had a down season in 2018 at 17-11 overall and a No. 15 ranking, but the Cardinals have come roaring back this spring. The Hall was a preseason No. 6 in the VSN poll and has moved up to No. 4 and No. 2 this week in the rankings and is riding an 8-game winning streak.

Through their 14 games overall, the Redbirds have not lost locally after dropping a pair in a Florida Tournament and have totaled 129 runs which is an average of 9.2 runs per game.

Defending A Conference champion Archbishop Curley is struggling while hanging on at No. 13 with its conference record at 3-4, three losses in a row and its overall at 4-5. The Friars host No. 1 Calvert Hall on Monday.

Coming off its first baseball State Championship season at 20-3 and a No. 4 ranking in the final VSN 2018 Top 20, Century lost a boat load to graduation and the Carroll County champions weren’t expected to have a great season this spring. Coach Mike Marrale and his Knights weren’t buying that despite a rocky start.

After rolling 15-3 over Westminster in their first game, the Knights were humbled 11-1 by Class 1A Patterson Mill and edged 4-3 by South Carroll. They have since reeled four straight to earn their way into the Top 20. Century leads Carroll County with a 4-1 record followed by Liberty (3-3, 3-2) and South Carroll (4-3, 3-3). The Knights and South Carroll are the only two of the seven Carroll County teams with winning overall records.

Editor’s note: The VSN Baseball Top 20 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 2019 VSN Baseball Top 20 for week 3:

VSN BASEBALL TOP 20 POLL – WEEK 3

1. HOWARD (7-1)

Previous rank: #1

Last week: defeated Wilde Lake, 13-1; defeated Northeast, 5-1; defeated then-No. 8 Marriotts Ridge, 9-6; defeated River Hill, 10-3

This week: vs. Glenelg, Apr. 8; at Long Reach, Apr. 10; vs. No. 19 Atholton, Apr. 12

 

2. CALVERT HALL COLLEGE (12-2)

Previous rank: #4

Last week: defeated St. Mary’s, 12-1; defeated Loyola Blakefield, 7-5; defeated St. Paul’s School, 14-2; defeated Penncrest (PA), 11-1

This week: at No. 13 Archbishop Curley, Apr. 8; at No. 5 Archbishhop Spalding, Apr. 10; vs. St. Mary’s, Apr. 12

 

3. CHESAPEAKE-ANNE ARUNDEL (5-1)

Previous rank: #3

Last week: defeated then-No. 19 Northeast, 14-0; lost to then-No. 13 North County, 6-4; defeated Southern, 6-4

This week: at Arundel, Apr. 8; at No. 14 South River, Apr. 10; at Annapolis, Apr. 12

 

4. JOHN CARROLL SCHOOL (9-2)

Previous rank: #4

Last week: defeated then-No. 6 Archbishop Curley, 11-3; defeated St. Paul’s School, 7-2

This week: at No. 10 Mount St. Joseph, Apr. 8; at McDonogh School, Apr. 10; vs. St. John’s College (DC), Apr. 11; vs. St. Paul’s School, Apr. 12

 

 

 

5. ARCHBISHOP SPALDING (7-4)

Previous rank: #2

Last week: lost to then-No. 20 Mount St. Joe, 3-0; lost to McDonogh School, 15-11; defeated then-No. 9 Gilman School, 8-2

This week: at St. Paul’s School, Apr. 8; vs. No. 2 Calvert Hall College, Apr. 10; at No. 6 Gilman School, Apr. 12; Westfield Tournament, Apr. 13 & Apr. 15

 

6. GILMAN SCHOOL (10-8)

Previous rank: #9

Last week: defeated St. Mary’s, 9-2; defeated St. Mary’s-Ryken, 11-5; lost to then-No. 20 Mount St. Joe, 8-5; lost to then-No. 2 Archbishop Spalding, 8-2

This week: at McDonogh School, Apr. 8; vs. Avalon School, Apr. 9; at St. Paul’s School, Apr. 10; vs. No. 5 Archbishop Spalding, Apr. 12

7. DULANEY (6-1)

Previous rank: #7

Last week: defeated Hereford, 6-4; defeated Lansdowne, 15-0; defeated Sparrows Point, 6-1

This week: at No. 20 Catonsville, Apr. 9; vs. Towson, Apr. 11; at Winters Mill, Apr. 12

 

8. MOUNT HEBRON (7-0)

Previous rank: #10

Last week: defeated Hammond, 9-5; defeated Glenelg, 5-1; defeated Long Reach, 22-2

This week: vs. No. 19 Atholton, Apr. 8; at Oakland Mills, Apr. 10; vs. No. 9 Marriotts Ridge, Apr. 12

 

9. MARRIOTTS RIDGE (6-2)

Previous rank: #8

Last week: defeated River Hill, 8-6; lost to No. 1 Howard, 9-6

This week: at Centennial, Apr. 8; vs. Reservoir, Apr. 10; at No. 8 Mount Hebron, Apr. 12

10. MOUNT ST. JOSEPH (7-2)

Previous rank: #20

Last week: defeated then-No. 2 Archbishop Spalding, 3-0; defeated then-No. 9 Gilman School, 8-5

This week: vs. No. 4 John Carroll School, Apr. 8; vs. Loyola Blakefield, Apr. 10; at No. 13 Archbishop Curley, Apr. 12

 

11. NORTH COUNTY (6-1)

Previous rank: #12

Last week: defeated Old Mill, 6-2; defeated No. 3 Chesapeake, 6-4; defeated Annapolis, 8-2

This week: at No. 12 Broadneck, Apr. 8; at No. 15 Severna Park, Apr. 10; at Arundel, Apr. 12

12. BROADNECK (6-1)

Previous rank: #12

Last week: defeated Southern, 10-0; defeated Arundel, 11-2; defeated Meade, 10-0

This week: vs. No. 11 North County, Apr. 8; vs. Old Mill, Apr. 10; vs. Glen Burnie, Apr. 12

 

13. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (4-5)

Previous rank: #6

Last week: lost to then-No. 5 John Carroll School, 11-3; lost to Loyola Blakefield, 8-7

This week: vs. No. 2 Calvert Hall College, Apr. 8; at St. Mary’s, Apr. 10; vs. No. 10 Mount St. Joseph, Apr. 12

14. SOUTH RIVER (5-1)

Previous rank: #11

Last week: lost to Arundel, 14-5; defeated Annapolis, 10-4; defeated Glen Burnie, 8-0

This week: vs. Northeast, Apr. 8; vs. No. 3 Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, Apr. 10; vs. Meade, Apr. 12

15. SEVERNA PARK (6-2)

Previous rank: #15

Last week: defeated Annapolis, 15-2; defeated Southern, 9-0; defeated then-No. 19 Northeast, 7-1

This week: vs. Glen Burnie, Apr. 8; vs. North County, Apr. 10; vs. Old Mill, Apr. 12

16. FALLSTON (4-1)

Previous rank: #20

Last week: defeated then-No. 14 Bel Air, 4-1; lost to North Harford, 4-3

This week: at C. Milton Wright, Apr. 8; vs. No. 18 Patterson Mill, Apr. 9; at Rising Sun, Apr. 10

17. HARFORD TECH (7-1)

Previous rank: #17

Last week: defeated Edgewood, 14-1; lost to Havre de Grace, 10-7; defeated Perryville, 2-0

This week: at Aberdeen, Apr. 8; at Joppatowne, Apr. 10; at Edgewood, Apr. 12

 

 

18. PATTERSON MILL (5-1)

Previous rank: #18

Last week: defeated North East, 6-3; defeated Rising Sun, 13-8

This week: vs. North Harford, Apr. 8; at No. 16 Fallston, Apr. 9; at No. 19 Bel Air, Apr. 10; vs. Eastern Tech, Apr. 12

 

 

19. BEL AIR (4-2)

Previous rank: #11

Last week: defeated North East, 13-6; lost to then-No. 20 Fallston, 4-1; defeated North Harford, 11-6

This week: vs. Winters Mill, Apr. 8; vs. No. 18 Patterson Mill, Apr. 9; at C. Milton Wright, Apr. 12

20t. CATONSVILLE (5-1)

Previous rank: Not ranked

Last week: defeated Towson, 9-6; defeated Perry Hall, 10-6

This week: vs. No. 7 Dulaney, Apr. 9; vs. Franklin, Apr. 10; vs. Eastern Tech, Apr. 11

20t. CENTURY (6-2)

Previous rank: Not ranked

Last week: defeated McDonogh School, 9-8; defeated Winters Mill, 16-0; defeated Liberty, 5-1

This week: at Francis Scott Key, Apr. 8; at Manchester Valley, Apr. 10; vs. Westminster, Apr. 12