The Howard County public school baseball coaches got together on Wednesday afternoon to select the 2011 All-County team, and here are the results.
(The Howard County Times/Columbia Flier baseball All-County story will be published in June, and may or may not differ from the coaches’ team)
Player of the Year: T.J. Pipik, Reservoir senior, SS/RHP.
Pitcher of the Year: Paul Beers, Atholton senior, RHP/C.
Pitcher: Kyle Alexander, Reservoir senior
Pitcher: Josh Martin, Atholton junior
Catcher: Tim Benjamin, Glenelg senior
First base: David Menker, Marriotts Ridge junior
Middle infield: Kory Britton, Atholton senior
Middle infield: Evan Griffin, River Hill sophomore
Middle infield: Raul Shah, Mt. Hebron junior
Third base: Danny Caddigan, River Hill senior
Outfield: Ben Ferraro, Marriotts Ridge junior
Outfield: Andrew Giuliani, Mt. Hebron senior
Outfield: Jon Thews, Atholton senior
Utility: Thomas Mee, Wilde Lake sophomore catcher/outfielder
Pitcher: Lee Lawler, Reservoir junior
Pitcher: Patrick Watson, Marriotts Ridge senior
Catcher: Matt Shiflett, Hammond senior
First base: Garret Kurtz, Centennial junior
Middle infield: Colin Dyer, Howard junior
Middle infield: Shane Kellaher, Glenelg senior
Middle infield: Dillon Shaw, Hammond senior
Third base: Nick Russo, Glenelg senior
Outfield: Logan Dubbe, Glenelg sophomore
Outfield: Ryan Toland, Howard senior
Outfield: Jake True, Glenelg senior
Utility: Zach Hazzard, Hammond senior
River Hill senior Scott Heydrick did not take the traditional route to long distance running.
Often, a school’s running programs — cross country, indoor and outdoor track — will fill their ranks with the castoffs from other, more glamorous, sports.
But Heydrick already had his spot on the Hawks baseball team when he decided to leave the rambunctious baseball dugout for the serenity and solitude of distance running.
As a freshman pitcher on the 2008 Hawks JV baseball team, Heydrick went 5-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 32 innings. He also batted .421 with a team-high 28 RBIs, earning a call-up to varsity for the playoffs as one of the Hawks most promising young players. He even played a key role in River Hill’s opening round playoff win that year.
That summer, Heydrick helped his club team, the HCYP Raiders, win the NABF 15U World Series in Nashville, beating a field of 24 of top teams from around the country.
Heydrick was a lock to earn a spot in the Hawks 2009 pitching rotation as a sophomore, but then in the offseason, a funny thing happened.
“We got a new baseball coach (2003 graduate Wes McCoy), so he encouraged anyone who wasn’t doing basketball or something to make sure to run indoor just to stay in condition, and I wasn’t doing anything so I said I’d try it,” said Heydrick, who had always been a good runner in middle school. “I started running at first just for fun, but then I really started liking it.”
Heydrick began training with some of River Hill’s top runners, like Craig Morgan, Adam Davis, Sean Kirby and Tommy Harsham.
“When I first started everyday was a struggle for me just to stay close to them, but then I really started making progress. I really loved doing it, and baseball was starting to get a little repetitive for me,” Heydrick said. “Running was so new, so fresh and I was having success with it, so I was like ‘Wow, this sounds crazy but I think I might stop baseball.’ My parents at first were mind blown, they couldn’t believe it.”
Heydrick placed second in the county indoor 800 as a sophomore.
He said he spent about a week going through the motions with the baseball team that spring, but then decided to dive into running headfirst by joining the outdoor track team, when he placed sixth in the state in the mile.
Even though the River Hill baseball team won the state championship that spring — becoming the Hawks first ever spring team champion — Heydrick says that he didn’t think about what might have been.
“Actually that same season we ended up winning states in the 4×800 (relay). A lot of people were like ‘Oh, that’s cool, sweet, but baseball actually won states.’ But for me, winning 4×8 at states was a huge thing, and I had a lot more fun. Running felt a lot newer and more exciting and there were a lot more instant benefits for me, so I don’t think I ever really regretted it,” he said. “Sometimes I just wanted to play catch with my friends, but never when I was doing that was I like, ‘Oh I wish I was playing baseball right now,’ because in the bottom of my heart I knew that I wanted to run.
“It was hard for me to say I want to do something that I’ve been doing for three months to give up something that I was doing for ten years, but as soon as I started running it just clicked, I really haven’t had too many regrets at all.”
Instead of playing club baseball that offseason, Heydrick found himself running summer cross country races with the Howard County Striders, and his times continued to improve.
The fall of his junior year, he became the Hawks top cross country runner, earning second team all-county honors.
Last winter, Heydrick broke through with a flourish, defeating Glenelg’s Robby Creese — who holds multiple state records and will go down as one of the countys greatest runners of all time — for the county title in the 1,600. He went on to win regional championship gold in that event, and took second at states a few weeks later. Baseball was starting to become a distant memory.
After a pair of runner-up finishes at the county and regional cross country meets, and a seventh place finish at the state meet, Heydrick was primed for a successful indoor track season. This winter, he fulfilled that promise, winning gold medals in the 800 and 1,600 at both regions and states.
It was no surprise that McCoy, who ran cross country, played basketball and baseball for the Hawks, would encourage his baseball players to stay well-rounded with their athletic endeavors. But if he wanted to keep Heydrick’s live arm around on the baseball diamond, he might have been wise to suggest another sport, say, wrestling.
“I remember (McCoy) telling (River Hill track coach Earl) Lauer, ‘Make him a state champion.’ So here you go,” Heydrick said after his state championship performance at the indoor state championships. “It’s definitely a good icing on the cake. I’m sure (McCoy’s) glad too. I think he just wanted to see me succeed with whatever I do (as long as) I was running instead of hanging out at the village center.”
So this spring, don’t expect Heydrick to have any wistful thoughts as he jogs past the baseball diamond on a training run, listening to the pop of mitts and the ping of aluminum bats.
“With some practice I could probably get back to play pretty well, but I don’t think to anywhere near where I was at the time I was playing full time,” he said.
Then again, slow pitch softball is an option at almost any age.
“I think I’ll always have a little bit of baseball talent in me, (maybe I’ll play again) when I’m 40 and have a family.”
So attentive local fans already know that Scott Swinson, a 2006 Centennial graduate, was drafted by the Orioles last week with the fifth pick of the 46th round (1,376th overall).
Swinson just completed his junior year at the University of Maryland, so he could still play for the Terps one more season and then re-enter the draft.
As a freshman at Centennial in 2004, Swinson helped the Eagles win the state title.
He also played football and basketball at the Ellicott City school.
As a senior, he led Centennial to the first undefeated season in Howard County play (7-1, 0.70 ERA, 60 strikeouts).
He spent his freshman year of college at George Washington, where he led the Colonials in every significant pitching category before transferring to Maryland for his sophomore year.
He capped off a fine first season with the Terps (13 starts, 5 wins, 2 complete games, 85 innings pitched, 71 strikeouts; all team bests) by throwing a no-hitter against Delaware, striking out 10, walking two, and hitting one. It was the sixth no-hitter in the history of the program, the first solo no-hitter since 1992, and the first solo shutout no-hitter since 1972.
He was named ACC Pitcher of the Week and Louisville Slugger National Pitcher of the Week after that performance.
This year, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound right-hander led the Terps in starts (13) and innings pitched (76).
He went 4-7 with a 5.54 ERA, 59 strikeouts and 22 walks.
If you’re trying to figure out which team will win the race to face front-running Hammond in the annual county title game, don’t strain your brain. There’s not going to be a game.
(Atholton and Marriotts Ridge are each 12-4 and Hammond is 12-2, in case you were wondering.)
Last year, the baseball coaches voted to skip the annual showdown. The general consensus was that teams were burning their ace starters and beating each other up in the county championship game, and then hobbling into the regional playoffs weaker because of it.
Another argument was that Team A could go through the regular season undefeated, while Team B could drop three or four games, but Team B wins the title game because they had a few bounces go their way.
I, for one, liked the excitement of a one-game championship, but then again I’m not coaching one of the teams that would have to play in it.
There is still some drama involved as Atholton (at Wilde Lake on Wednesday) and/or Marriotts Ridge (at Mt. Hebron) could possibly catch Hammond, which still has to play Glenelg, River Hill and Howard over the last week of games.
Andrew took his first job with the Howard County Times as an editorial assistant/obituary writer in 2001. He has written about an array of sports, from rugby to roller skate dancing. Andrew was a (mediocre) swimmer at Loyola College, but he enjoys playing many sports, including rec-league softball, kickball, basketball, football, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee. He would play rec-league unicycle badminton if he could find a league. He is a fan of all the Baltimore sports clubs, from the O’s to the Blast. When he’s not obsessing over the athletic endeavors of others, Andrew enjoys watching zombie movies from the 70s and 80s. He resides in Catonsville.