Season’s bragging rights there for seizing
The storylines, the players to watch and the top 15 teams heading into 2023 campaign
Here’s what you need to know for the 2023 high school baseball season in the Baltimore area.
Storylines to watch
Who will win a deep Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference?
Archbishop Spalding has the talent to defend its crown with five pitchers committed to play in Division I. Calvert Hall has reloaded and will also compete for the title with solid depth on the mound, six returning starters in the lineup and 10 seniors committed to college. Loyola Blakefield, John Carroll, Gilman and Curley will also look to make a run.
Can Glenelg defend its Class 2A state title?
The Gladiators, who beat Patuxent in last year’s championship game, are eager to prove they’re ready to do it again. “We have a very experienced and talented group of young men who are hungry to compete on the field,” coach Steve Tiffany said. But Howard County is deep this year, as usual, and Reservoir is also talented enough for a deep postseason run. The dark horse is Long Reach, which can beat a lot of teams in the metro area, according to county coaches. River Hill will be tough, too.
Is Chesapeake the team to beat in Anne Arundel County?
The Cougars are the defending Class 3A state champions and have plenty of talent coming back from that impressive squad. Noah Bowerman will lead the pitching staff after going 3-0 last year with a 2.33 ERA. Severna Park has one of the best programs in the area, and the Falcons have reloaded for a potential run at the county, regional and state titles. Arundel also has a solid program and North County and Broadneck look tough as well. Pitching could lead Old Mill and Southern-AA to some wins against those teams, too.
Hereford looks like the favorite in Baltimore County.
The Bulls have their entire pitching staff back from last season and it should be the strength of their team. Perry Hall should be solid with junior AJ Mendoza, who led the team in hitting both his freshman and sophomore years. Towson had an impressive run to the Class 3A title game, but the Generals have an entirely new starting lineup.
Dulaney could also push for the county title.
Can anyone challenge Liberty in Carroll County?
The Lions have the experience and depth to take the Carroll County crown with seniors Anthony Zombro, Joe Glass and Ryan Smith leading the charge. “I feel scoring could be at a minimum this year due to all the pitching and some teams losing big bats,” Liberty coach Travis Inch said. South Carroll will also be in the hunt with the return of pitcher Braden Cordrey, outfielders Drake Hebron and Jackson Strzelczyk and infielder Evan Schwartz. Century, Manchester Valley, Francis Scott Key and Winters Mill will also be competitive.
Players to watch Qwynn Ahearn, Centennial, catcher, senior
The slugger batted .370 with five home runs, 21 RBIs, 13 runs and 15 walks with an 1.342 OPS. The Penn commit was named first-team All-Howard County and secondteam All-Metro a year ago.
Frank Adamski, John Carroll, infielder, senior
Adamski has been a leader for the Patriots since becoming one of the few four-year starters in program history. He was Prep Baseball Report’s 2021 Underclass Player of the Year and is a three-time MSABC Preseason All-State and All-MIAA selection. He’s committed to Coastal Carolina.
Calvin Cook, Broadneck, shortstop, junior
Cook recorded an impressive .449 batting average with seven doubles, 18 RBIs, 24 runs and 19 stolen bases last season. He is a fivetool player with a plus arm, runs well, has soft hands, hits for average and has added power this offseason. He has multiple Division I offers.
Liam Diehl, Herford, pitcher-outfielder, senior
The 6-foot-4 Diehl is a tall, lanky threeyear starter who has a fastball that reaches the low 90s mph. The High Point commit consistently commands three pitches with swing-and-miss stuff and is a solid corner outfielder.
Nick Duvall, Glenelg, pitcher-infielder, senior
Duvall went 4-1 with a 3.50 ERA while only allowing 13 hits last season. He also ended the season hitting .367 with 13 extrabase hits to go with 27 RBIs. The senior is getting attention from several colleges.
EJ Hankerson, Calvert Hall, outfielder, senior
Hankerson will provide some pop for the Cardinals’ lineup as his good barrel control allows him to produce consistently hard contact. The Maryland commit batted .329 with five homers and 19 RBIs last year.
AJ Mendoza, Perry Hall, shortstop-pitcher, junior
The versatile player and one of Baltimore County’s top players led the Gators in hitting in his freshman and sophomore years. He hit over .500 with 25 stolen bases a season ago.
John Petryszak, Archbishop Curley, third baseman, senior
The talented infielder batted .389 with four home runs to go with a 1.148 OPS and .481 on-base percentage last season. He is a powerful right-handed hitter who can hit the ball the opposite way with power and an excellent fielder with above-average arm strength and accuracy. He is committed to
Parker Thomas, Archbishop Spalding, utility-pitcher, senior
Thomas was dominant on the mound against some of the top teams in the state, defeating Calvert Hall twice and Archbishop Curley last season on his way to an 8-0 record and 0.36 ERA. He also batted .362 and is committed to East Carolina.
Henry Zatkowski, River Hill, pitcher, junior
The crafty left-hander was the Howard County Pitcher of the Year after going 6-1 with a 1.14 ERA last season. He was instrumental in helping the Hawks win their first county championship since 2016 and has already committed to Duke.
PRESEASON TOP 15
1. Archbishop Spalding
Coach: Joseph Palumbo
Last season: 27-4 overall, ranked No. 1
Postseason: MIAA A Conference champion
Coach: Jeff Young
Last season: 19-3, No. 2
Postseason: Class 3A state champion
3. Calvert Hall
Coach: Brooks Kerr
Last season: 21-9, No. 4
Postseason: MIAA A Conference semifinalist
4. John Carroll
Coach: Darrion Siler
Last season: 16-12, No. 3
Postseason: MIAA A Conference finalist
Coach: Steve Tiffany
Last season: 19-5, No. 5
Postseason: Class 2A state champion
6. Severna Park
Coach: Eric Milton
Last season: 15-3, No. 6
Postseason: Class 4A state finalist
Coach: Matt Skrenchuk
Last season: 15-4, No. 14
Postseason: Class 4A East Region II semifinalist
Coach: Brad Duvall
Last season: 15-3, not ranked
Postseason: Class 2A state quarterfinalist
Coach: Frank Hood
Last season: 14-5, No. 13
Postseason: Class 4A East Region I semifinalist
10. Archbishop Curley
Coach: Joe Gaeta
Last season: 18-13, No. 12
Postseason: MIAA A Conference quarterfinalist
11. River Hill
Coach: Craig Estrin
2022 record: 16-3, No. 10
Postseason: Class 3A East Region II finalist
Coach: Adam Leader
Last season: 17-5, No. 8
Postseason: Class 3A state semifinalist
13. Perry Hall
Coach: Joe Carlineo
Last season: 16-5, not ranked
Postseason: Class 4A North Region I finalist
Coach: Travis Inch
Last season: 15-6, No. 11
Postseason: Class 2A state semifinalist
15. Indian Creek
Coach: Matt Foster
Last season: 20-10, No. 15
Postseason: MIAA B Conference champion
Others considered: Centennial (10-11), Loyola Blakefield (11-13), Dulaney (14-7), Century (15-5), Towson (17-3), South Carroll (12-6)