Notebook -- Michael will lead WCPS athletics

May 07, 2010

Washington County Public Schools will have a new athletics leader next school year.

Eric Michael, currently the principal at Hancock Middle-Senior High School, will become the Supervisor of Athletics, Health & Physical Education, effective July 1.

He will replace G. Edward Masood, who served in the educational and coaching field for 44 years -- the past seven as the Supervisor of Athletics, Health & Physical Education for WCPS.

Michael served as the head football coach at Williamsport from 1996-2002 before concentrating on the administrative field. He was an assistant principal at North Hagerstown and Williamsport before becoming the principal at Hancock in 2007.



The Maryland postseason begins next Friday, and teams will learn on Wednesday their opening assignments.

Clear Spring (15-2) will be the top seed in Class 1A West if the Blazers win their one game remaining, on the road Monday against Catoctin. The top record would get the Blazers home-field advantage through the regional championship.

Smithsburg (9-8) is the only other team in Washington County with a winning record through Thursday.

Out west, Southern Garrett (12-5) started off strong but has lost its last three games. Mountain Ridge currently stands at 11-4.

In 2A West, North Hagerstown (11-6) has lost two of its last three games, leaving the Hubs with only an outside chance of a seed.

In 3A West, South Hagerstown (12-7) could sneak into the No. 2 seed with a win over Linganore today.

Area stats leaders

* Waynesboro's Brett Rosenberry has been on a home run tear and took over the Tri-State lead this week when he boosted his total to nine. He's made his 25 hits worthwhile, driving in 33 runs -- also a Tri-State high.

* Williamsport's Connor Arnone, who scored four runs in the Wildcats' win over Smithsburg on Wednesday, jumped into the lead in runs scored with a whopping 33 in 19 games.

* Hedgesville's Huey Hite has rebounded to even his pitching record at 3-3 with a stellar 0.73 earned run average. Hite had been the victim of a lot of sloppy defensive play in the early season by the Eagles, who have shored things up to turn around a sub-.500 start into a 14-13 record. Hite also has struck out 81 in 47 2/3 innings.

* Williamsport's Jason Hammond leads the area with 22 walks, while Berkeley Springs' Dylan Spielman leads with 22 stolen bases.


So much for the knock that Smithsburg can't beat the MVAL Antietam's top teams.

The Leopards (13-4, 11-3) are the latest hottest team in Washington County, with six straight wins -- including marquee victories over North Hagerstown and Clear Spring -- to lock up at least a share of second place in the conference.

"I just think the kids started to get comfortable at the plate and they came up with big hits when they had to," Smithsburg coach Katy Barnhart said. "We just had to hit eventually."

On April 30, Smithsburg pulled off a 6-5 victory over a North Hagerstown team that had been on an eight-game winning streak and was challenging for the conference title (before the Hubs had to forfeit their first 10 victories this season due to an ineligible player). Two freshmen came up huge -- Brooke Parks hit a walk-off double in the seventh inning, and Cara Ferguson hit a three-run homer and pitched a five-hitter.

The Leopards followed that up with an 8-5 victory over the Blazers (14-3, 10-3), who need to beat conference champion Catoctin (15-2, 12-1) today to gain a share of second place with Smithsburg. Ferguson (5-0) earned another victory in the circle and Shayla Murray, Kayla Wastler, Karah Knight and Kinsey Shifflett each contributed two hits or two RBIs at the plate.

Smithsburg finished off the regular season with two one-run victories over Williamsport (10-7, 8-6) -- an eight-inning 4-3 triumph in a game completed from April 16, and a 6-5 win in which the Leopards scored the winning run on an error in the seventh.

The Leopards' offense has been steady all season and has averaged 8.5 runs per game in conference play. The pitching -- considered a question mark entering the season -- has been solid as opponents have averaged just 4.3 runs per game in conference play. Ferguson, Murray and Paige Decker have anchored the pitching staff.

"I think we have three solid pitchers we can bring in and feel comfortable with all three," Barnhart said. "When (Ferguson) got her chance, she was on the JV and we called her up and she's just been solid. She has confidence and doesn't get rattled."

Barnhart is looking forward to the Maryland Class 1A West playoffs, which should be wide-open with Smithsburg, Clear Spring and Williamsport all reasonable contenders. Even Boonsboro (9-8, 6-8) showed it can be dangerous with Wednesday's 3-2 upset of Clear Spring.

"It's gonna be a good time," Barnhart said. "Our kids are looking forward to competition and the challenge. We'll take it one game at a time, try to play smart and hope we can hit."

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