Tuesday, April 29, 2014

College Baseball: Terps in Playoff Picture, Navy Grabs Spot

The Terps saw better weather, and results, in this early season game vs. Bryant (photo / T. Flynn)

by Boxer Journal Apr. 29, 2014
College Park, MD - After their pitchers struggled in the cold air of Chestnut Hill against Boston College (19-27) this past weekend, the Maryland Terrapins hardly received a warmer welcome back home.

On a windy, rain-plagued Tuesday at Shipley Field, the Terps (25-19) fell to James Madison, 6-3, to continue what is now a four-game slide. Zach Morris (2-1) took the loss for Maryland on the hill. The JMU Dukes improved to 15-26 overall, and clearly were working in pitchers as they sent eight hurlers to the mound to complete nine innings of work.

Maryland still holds to the 10th and final ACC Tournament playoff spot, but will need to play well against Notre Dame (17-26) and Pittsburgh (19-23) in their final two ACC series to keep a tourney bid.
***
Annapolis, MD - The Navy Midshipmen are scheduled to host the Atlantic 10's George Mason (24-16) on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Navy locked up a Patriot League playoff spot this weekend, although not in a manner they would have hoped.

In facing arch rival Army in a four game series, the Mids won the opener, 4-0, to briefly gain the .500 mark. Ace Anthony Parenti (8-2), struck out seven in a seven-inning complete game victory.

From there things dimmed considerably for Navy (23-26) as they dropped the next three to the Black Knights (32-13). 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

College Lacrosse Weekender: Loyola, Lehigh in Patriot League Final

Loyola defeated Colgate on Friday in Baltimore (photo / T. Flynn)

by Boxer Journal, Apr.  26, 2014
Baltimore, MD - The Loyola Greyhounds advanced to the Patriot League finals with a 12-6 victory over Colgate in the PL semifinals on Friday.

The game began under threatening skies that only grew more menacing as a heavy downpour blew through the Greyhound's Ridley Athletic Complex. Senior Justin Ward had two goals and three assists to lead Loyola (13-1). Ward, who was one of seven Greyhounds to earn All-Patriot League honors this season, has sixty points on the season backed by 15 goals and 45 assists.

Loyola celebrates one of a dozen goals on Friday (photo / T. Flynn)

In the second Patriot League semifinal at Ridley on Friday, third-seeded Lehigh (13-4) upset the Army Black Knights (9-4), 12-11, when Reid Weber scored with just under four seconds left on the game clock. The victory sets up Sunday's final at 1:00 pm between Loyola and Lehigh.
***
Johns Hopkins closed the gap on an NCAA tournament berth by beating Villanova (5-8) on Wednesday night, 13-7, at Homewood Field. Junior Wells Stanwick, a Boys' Latin graduate, scored three for the Blue Jays (10-3).
***
Maryland's Goran Murray (photo / umterps.com)

Chester, PA - Notre Dame (7-5) sent Maryland (10-3) to an early exit from the ACC tournament at suburban Philadelphia's PPL Park on Friday with a 6-5 win. The Irish will face Syracuse (10-3) in the ACC finals tomorrow at PPL.

The Orangemen gained the final by defeating Duke (12-3), who just last month beat Syracuse, 21-7.

The Terps will close out their regular season next weekend when they face Navy (4-9) in College Park.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Maryland Baseball 2014 - The Free State's Finest

Maryland's Jose Cuas (photo / umterps.com)
Boxer Journal Apr. 15, 2014
College Park, MD - In a weekday match-up, Maryland underscored that this season they are the state's undisputed top college club. On Wednesday they handily defeated the Navy Midshipmen here at Shipley Field by a score of 11-4.

Mid-week games often aren't fully telling of two teams relative strengths, as both clubs hold back starting pitchers for weekend in-conference series. Such was the case for Maryland (22-13) as they sent out red-shirt sophomore Zach Morris for just his second career start. Morris (1-0) responded by yielding only one earned run through five innings of work, and in turn, earned his first career victory.

Third baseman Jose Cuas launched his fourth home run of the season and drove in four.

"You want to go into a weekend series feeling good about yourself, so this is good. This game isn't going to mean a whole lot come first pitch Friday night. We have to have a good start but this will make it easier going into that game. Wins like this make guys feel better about themselves," said Coach Szafec after the game. Maryland hosts Georgia Tech (21-15-1) for three ACC games this weekend.

The Terps are currently in fourth place in the league's seven-team Atlantic Division. 10 of 14 teams qualify for the ACC post-season.

For the Mids (18-22), Stephen Moore was the short-starter and pitched well, holding Maryland scoreless for his two innings of work. Senior David Norman laced three hits for Navy to raise his batting average to .375. This weekend the Mids face Lehigh (17-14) in Annapolis for a four-game Patriot League series. Navy is currently in the fourth and final spot for the Patriot League playoffs.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

College Lacrosse Weekender

Denver (shown here v. Syracuse) topped St. John's  (photo/ Getty Images)
Boxer Journal Apr. 13, 2014
Baltimore, MD - On Saturday, the Big-10 got a glimpse of a 19th-century rivalry that will become its newest next spring.

At a sold-out Homewood Field, the #9 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (7-3) knocked off #2 Maryland (9-2), 11-6, in the latest installment of a series that first began in 1895. Maryland joins the Big-10 as a full member in 2014-2015 while the Johns Hopkins' men's lacrosse team will become an affiliate, leaving the 119-year-old rivalry intact.

The conference will be inaugurating lacrosse play in 2015. Participating teams include Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Rutgers.
***
Loyola clinched the PL regular-season title on Saturday (photo / T. Flynn)
While Navy couldn't build momentum after a close loss to Loyola two weeks ago, the Greyhounds proved they hadn't lost theirs after the unexpectedly tight match.

After narrowly defeating the Mids in double OT in Annapolis on April 5, Loyola stormed back against Boston University (1-10) at Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday for a 15-6 victory. With the win they earned the Patriot League regular-season title and a first round bye in the league tournament.

The Greyhounds are 11-1 overall and undefeated at 7-0 in the Patriot. They close out the regular season next week at home against Bucknell (7-6).
***
Denver, CO - In a critical Big East contest, #5 Denver defeated St. John's (6-6), 15-9 before a record crowd at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. The Pioneers ran their mark to 4-0 within the conference and 10-2 overall.

British Columbia native Wesley Berg had two goals and added two assists for the Pioneers.

After the game Coach Bill Tierney talked about the win, playing before a full stadium, and the team's throwback uniforms from the 1980's.
***
West Point, NY - Despite Navy's high-profile dominance of Army on the gridiron, Army has firmly held the upper-hand in recent years on the lacrosse field. That continued on Saturday as the Black Knights (8-3) defeated the Mids (4-7), 14-7, at Michie Stadium. It was the sixth straight win for Army over Navy.

Despite the loss, the Mids qualified for one of six Patriot League playoff spots.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pro Baseball: 1949 Baltimore Elite Giants - Free Anniversary Report

1949 Baltimore Elite Giants (photo / public domain)

To welcome in the baseball season, later this month I'll be producing a free, printed two-sided full-color history of the 1949 Baltimore Elite Giants. This year marks the 65th anniversary of their championship season, largely regarded as the last significant pennant in Negro Leagues' history.

Over the years, in the course of researching several articles and the book Baseball of Baltimore, I've compiled significant amounts of information on what was surely one of the most talented and important teams in the history of baseball. The team produced a Hall-of-Famer, two consecutive MLB rookies of the year, and several players that by rights belong in the Hall. Their story is largely forgotten to the baseball world and deserves recognition as an integral part of the sport's history.


1949 Baltimore Elite Giants (photo / Henderson collection, MDHS)

For a free printed copy, simply send an email with your mailing address or for a .pdf just send an email to tom.flynn51@gmail.com. Printed copies will be limited to the first 50 requests, and the anticipated mailing for both .pdfs and printed copies is April 27. - TF

Sunday, April 6, 2014

College Baseball Weekender

Navy split a four-game series with Holy Cross (photo / T. Flynn)
By Boxer Journal Apr. 6, 2014
Annapolis, MD - Under long absent sunny skies, the Navy Midshipmen gained a four-game split with Patriot League foe Holy Cross this weekend.

Saturday opened with a 6-1 loss to the Crusaders, before Anthony Parenti closed the door in game two for his sixth win against two losses. DH David Norman knocked in four in the 13-2 rout.

On Sunday, Luke Gillingham struck out 12 in the first game to ensure a 3-1 victory and at least a series split. The Mids (16-17, 2-6 PL) later bowed in the series finale, 6-3.

On Saturday, the Mids sign autographs between games (photo / T. Flynn)
***
Winston-Salem, NC - The Maryland Terrapins staved off a weekend sweep to the Demon Deacons on Sunday by salvaging the last game of a three-game set at Wake Forest Baseball Park.  The Terps won 11-3 to run their mark to 19-8 overall. They are 6-8 in the ACC, while Wake is 22-12 overall and 10-5 in conference games.

Maryland is 19-8 overall in 2014. (photo / umterps.com)
Junior standout centerfielder Charlie White led the way for Maryland, with four hits, four RBIs, two runs and two stolen bases. He also registered five putouts in center. Bobby Ruse (4-0) earned the win in relief for the Terps.

Maryland next faces the Atlantic-10's George Mason (17-10) on Tuesday.

***

Cal dropped three to Washington State this weekend (photo / goldenbearsports.com)
Pullman, Wash. - On the West Coast, Cal suffered a long weekend at the hands of Washington State, dropping three straight on the road. Overall the Golden Bears are 14-15 and 3-6 in the PAC-12. Junior Brenden Farney (pictured) leads the team with a .355 batting clip.

Editor's note: Throughout 2014 and through arrangement with Cal Athletics Boxer Journal will broaden our coverage to the West and cover one of the country's most noteworthy programs, Cal. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

College Baseball: The Navy's Oriole - Max Bishop

The infield at Max Bishop Stadium (photo / Tom Flynn)
By Boxer Journal Apr. 3, 2014
Annapolis - There's a brick baseball stadium on the banks of College Creek, named for a man who spent his career quietly and fittingly doing yeoman's work as he helped propel his teams to heights they would have only glimpsed without him.

Terwilliger Brothers Field at Max Bishop Stadium, Navy's home ballpark, draws the latter part of its name from a teenager who broke in with the minor league Baltimore Orioles while still a senior at Baltimore's City College (High School). Jack Dunn, the Orioles manager and owner, had a penchant for finding young local talent, signing George Herman Ruth to a contract just four years earlier in 1914. Dunn was forced to sell the Babe that same season as his team faced financial insolvency and he struggled to save it. By 1918 he was well on his way to building back the powerhouse that had its foundation swept out in '14.

1918
Bishop was 5'8" and perhaps 140 lbs. soaking wet when he first trotted out to play third base for Dunn's Orioles. Bishop didn't hit for power, but he had a good eye and the 1918 club was built around pitching and could carry a light-hitting third baseman. Rube Parnham won 22 games and their ace Ralph Worrell, another teenager in his first year, dominated the league with 25 wins. With Worrell and Bishop now in the fold, Dunn had back a young nucleus around which to build.

That all changed that fall when the flu epidemic ravishing the globe struck Baltimore and the Orioles and took the life of Worrell. For the second time in four years, Dunn had lost his brightest star, this time tragically. The 1919 club would not be the team he envisioned.

1919-1923 Bishop Paces Five Pennants
Dunn contacted third baseman  and Catonsville-native Fritz Maisel in the off-season, his former star now in the American League with the hapless St. Louis Browns. Fritz agreed to return. He would move Bishop to second base and partner him with another kid, Joe Boley, at shortstop. Max didn't have the range he wanted at second but Boley covered for him and the two solidified the middle infield. It all came together in '19, with the Orioles winning 100 games and dropping just 49 to easily win the International League. Maisel was outstanding, hitting .336 and stealing 63 bases, and it was often Bishop crossing the plate out in front of him.

From 1919 through 1925 the Orioles repeated as champs; an unprecedented seven straight International League pennant winners. In 1920 the powerful major league Yankees, led by Babe Ruth en route to a record 54 home run season, stopped in for an exhibition game against the Orioles. They were sent packing without a win, or a run, by their hosts.

Bishop was too good to be around for all seven. In 1923 Max played in 159 games, batted .333 and laced 179 hits, including 10 triples, 35 doubles and even 22 home runs lofted over the wooden fence in Oriole Park's rightfield. Philadelphia A's owner Connie Mack had seen enough and offered Dunn $25,000 for Max's contract. Dunn sold and the native Pennsylvanian was off to Philly.

A Thousand Walks, Three Pennants, Two World Championships 
In Philadelphia, Bishop continued to do what he did best, setting the table for the likes of Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane and Al Simmons. He would later be joined by former Oriole teammate Lefty Grove and his old double play partner, Joe Boley. Once Boley arrived in 1927 Bishop and the A's began to take off, nearly catching the Yankees in 1928 and passing them en route to World Championships in '29 and '30. Bishop would play in the majors through 1935, compiling over 1,100 walks in the process and playing for a total of eight pennant winners in his professional career.

On to Annapolis 
Bishop spent time with the Orioles organization in '36 and the Tigers as a scout in '37 and then arrived in Annapolis for perhaps his greatest baseball achievement. From 1938 through 1961, the unassuming leader piloted the Navy Midshipmen to 306 wins against just 143 losses for a .681 winning percentage over 24 seasons. In 1961, his last as head coach, the Mids went 24-2. Just prior to announcing his retirement, Bishop passed away at the age of 62, leaving behind an impressive legacy at the major, minor and collegiate baseball levels.

Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I've contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).  This week I w...