Welcome to Varsity Sports Network’s 2011 preseason Top 20 baseball poll.  VSN ranks the top teams in the Baltimore region which covers public and private schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.
1. Gilman School (27-5 last season)

Player to watch: Ryan Ripken, Jr., Infielder/Pitcher

In the cage: Greyhounds are out to prove that 2010 is just the beginning.


2. C. Milton Wright (23-0)

Player to watch: Bobby Ruse, Sr., Pitcher

In the cage: Defending Class 3A champions will again be tough to score on with Ruse, a University of Maryland recruit, and Jon Cobo on the mound.


3. Severna Park (19-4)

Player to watch: Brent Jones, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: With Jones leading way, Falcons will be in serious contention for a second Class 4A state championship in three seasons.


4. Archbishop Spalding (25-9)

Player to watch: Austin Neary, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: New coach Jeff Palumbo has powerful unit set to challenge in the MIAA A Conference, arguably the area’s toughest league.

5. Calvert Hall College (23-11)

Player to watch: Matt Bosse, Sr., Outfielder

In the cage: The Cardinals are out to regain MIAA A crown after five-year reign ended last spring.


6. John Carroll School (12-16)

Player to watch: K.J. Hockaday, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: The Patriots are deep, talented and ready to push Calvert Hall, Spalding and Gilman atop the MIAA A


7. Atholton (20-4)

Player to watch: Kory Britton, Sr., Pitcher/Infielder

In the cage: Raiders are the team to beat in Howard County with University of Maryland-bound Britton leading charge.


8. Mount St. Joseph (19-12)

Player to watch: Patrick Rogers, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: The Gaels will be again in the MIAA A championship hunt with mix of veterans and promising underclassmen.

9. Chesapeake-Anne Arundel (18-8)

Player to watch: Jordan Myers, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: With new coach (Ken King) and 10 seniors, Chesapeake’s out to capture Class 4A state championship in 2011.


10. Franklin (14-7)

Player to watch: Joey Dorsey, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: After quarterbacking Indians to Class 3A football finals last fall, LaSalle University-bound Dorsey out to get Reisterstown school to Ripken Stadium for 3A state finals in May.


11. Fallston (15-7)

Player to watch: Brandon Del Pilar, Sr., Outfielder

In the cage: Cougars will pose greatest threat to C. Milton Wright in UCBAC with six returning starters from last season’s 2A East Region semifinalists.

12. Dulaney (11-9)

Player to watch: Eric Upton, Sr. Infielder/Pitcher

In the cage: Lions have five starters back to challenge Franklin for Baltimore County Division I crown.

13. Westminster (17-5)

Player to watch: Cody Harman, Sr., Catcher

In the cage: Led by preseason All-State performer Harman, Owls are the team to beat in Carroll County.


14. Severn School (17-8)

Player to watch: Joe Kotler, Sr., Pitcher

In the cage: Admirals are the early favorite in MIAA B with eight starters back including Kotler and infielder Sam Wachs.


15. Digital Harbor (13-3)

Player to watch: Nathan Pitts, Sr., Infielder

In the cage: With eight starters back from last year, Rams hoping to go farther in postseason after falling in Class 2A North Region semifinals last spring.

16. Arundel (10-8)

Player to watch: Dalton Durocher, Sr., Pitcher

In the cage: After abrupt end to 2010 season, the Wildcats to look bounce back in tough Anne Arundel County league.


17. Eastern Tech (14-8)

Player to watch: Nick McElfish, Sr., Outfielder

In the cage: Tech skipper Spike McElfish will look to son and fellow seniors Ben Gettier and Rob Barton to help lead young squad.


18. Harford Tech (11-11)

Player to watch: Andrew Bugda, Jr., Catcher

In the cage: With three region crowns in past five seasons, the Cobras, with Bugda and John LaComb leading way, should be in hunt again after surviving a tough UCBAC schedule.


19. Towson (16-10)

Player to watch: Josh Marshall, Sr., Infield/Outfielder

In the cage: Traditionally slow starting, Generals and new coach Bradley Eastham is looking to start a new trend in 2011.


20. Poly (13-5)

Player to watch: Shawn Henson, Sr., Pitcher/Outfielder

In the cage: Engineers should return to dominance in Baltimore City with seven starters including Henson and juniors Jordan Garrison and Joe Uhden.