Delaware County Daily Times from Chester, Pennsylvania on June 11, 1976 · Page 13
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Delaware County Daily Times from Chester, Pennsylvania · Page 13

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Chester, Pennsylvania
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Friday, June 11, 1976
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Page 13
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DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES SPORTS Friday, June 11,1976 , Villanova getting more than pitcher in Tom Harrison ByRICHPODOLSKY was playing right field and batting .350. During practice annparanoas and verv well as a junior. THIS year, had 2-0 lead with them coming up in the bottom of the ByRICHPODOLSKY Dtfiy Times Staff Writer MORTON--Practically every area high school follower knows Tom Harrison has been one tremendous pitcher for Cardinal O'Hara High. The statistics alone breath fire. Take his just- completed senior season: earned run average of 0.85,128 strikeouts in 53 innings of work, 9-2 pitching record. There's no wonder Villanova University grabbed the 511,175-pound prospect. But there's more. A lot more, that most fans don't know about Tom Harrison the player. Take his fast ball and curve ball away and he's still an excellent prospect. Take him off the mound and he can play seven other positions. Give him a little time and he'll learn to be a catcher, too. When he wasn't pitching for the Lions this season he was playing right field and batting .350. During practice every day he moves from position to position, fielding ground balls or taking flies all over the outf ied. "He can play anywhere in college," said his O'Hara coach, Bill Dugan. "People don't realize how versatile he is and how much he can do besides as a pitcher. · "His pitching arm is good but he's got a great throwing arm from the outfield and quick speed on the bases." But Dugan admits that on the college level, at least, Harrison is too valuable a property not to use on the mound. "I had him for four years here," Dugan said. "I was the JV coach when he was a freshman. And he had it then. You could just tell the raw ability was there. "He did well on the varsity as a sophomore in a couple appearances and very well as a junior. This year, though, it all came together." One of the reasons was the great success Harrison had with the curve ball his senior year. College coaches exclaimed shock at the frequency and control in which Tom used the pitch. "The key," said Dugan, "was that he always got the curve over. It complimented his fast ball. And even once in a while he'd send a knuckle-curve floating up there." His athletic ability was also demonstarted on the football team where he was a starting wide receiver. At this time, Villanova did not say it had dual-sport roles in mind for Harrison, though. But his competitiveness is unquestioned. Dugan believes in the saying, "When the going gets tough the tough get going," and points to Tom as a prime example. "We were at West Catholic this year," he said, "and had 2-0 lead with them coming up in the bottom of the seventh (and last inning). "They got the first two men on and I went out to the mound. But there's nothing you can tell him, he's so confident of his own abilities. He got the first batter after that on a sacrifice and struck out the final two." The same thing happened at St. James but we were leading 3-2 when he had to strikeout the last two and did. Dugan just can't say enough good things about the promising senior. "I wish I had more like him--not just the athletic ability but the type of person he is. He's a leader on and off the field. He's really a great kid. I'm very proud of him." And if Harrison matures at a quick enough rate to make it to the majors some day, Dugan kiddingly added, "1 hope he'll buy me a ticket." Brandywine nine led by 3 locals BRANDYWINE - When Brandywine College was looking for a new head baseball coach two years ago, one of the seven men who applied for the job was a former star at Brandywine. The thing was that he was an honorable mention All-America soccer goalie. But that didn't stop Steve Kokas from getting the job and it didn't stop Kokos from turning the baseball program at Brandywine around in a big hurry. Kokas got plenty of help from some unexpected sources, like a player who came to the school with a basketball scholarship and another who just came to the school. "I guess they wanted somebody who went through their system," Kokas said of his selection as coach for the 1975 season. "That year I took over, it was September and I couldn't recruit. I was more or less stuck with the team. We were -12 overall but we won our conference (First State Conference) with a 5-1 record." Kokos did some recruiting last summer and came up with three solid Delaware County players. He had played for JVillowbrook in the Chester Senior- Babe Ruth League about five years ago. For another season, he helped Rich Merchant coach the team. He had Mowed the league's Ail- Star team (now the Delaware County Senior Babe Ruth League All-Stars) in tournament play for several seasons and last summer hit the jackpot in his first try at recruiting. Kokas not only landed a pair of players from Neshaminy who played against the local team, he landed three of the team's top players. He tragically lost one, though, when Dave Griffith, the Interboro High pitcher, died following an accident near the end of the summer. Pitcher Greg Farmer of Springfield High came through with a 3-3 record for Brandywine including key wins over Wesley and the Princeton JV team and was second in strikeouts behind Eric Thornton, younger brother of Montreal's Andy Thornton. John Grozak, St. James High slugger, hit .338 from the cleanup spot and had 19 RBI. Mike Henderson of Bonner High led the team in hitting (.348) and also had more singles, doubles, triples and home runs than any of his teammates. For the year, Brandywine was 9-7. Again, Kokas' team came up with the championship of the First State Conference and was co-winner of the Princeton Invitational Tournament 'Shortstop 1 designation fools McCann Mike Henderson (left) of Bonner High, John Grozak (center) from St. James and Greg Farmer of Springfield helped Brandywine College to First State Conference Championship. (the championship game against Suffolk was rained out). "We were seeded eighth in the tournament, but we beat Mercer County, which was ranked 10th in the nation at the time, then we beat Princeton," Kokas said. "I give the kids all the credit. They ran a dollar a week club to raise money for the trip. They really wanted to play." Two years ago, Brandywine was ranked 32nd among the district junior college teams. This year, the team was ranked ninth. The top eight teams were invited to the junior college playoffs. "Of the top eight teams, we played five and beat four," Kokas said. Brandywine's season actually begins almost immediately after classes begin in September. The team plays almost 20 games in its fall schedule, but all are on the road. Brandywine uses the field at 18th * Van Buren in Wilmington to practice but can't get it for weekend games in the fall. This lack of a practice facility keeps Kokas from starting his spring training until the middle of February. "We started Feb. 16 and went outside every day," he said. "There were days when the kids were losing balls in the snow, but we got a break with some nice weather this February. "We were also able to use Claymont High's facilities once in a while." Claymont coach Larry Wheeler is one of several men who have helped Kokas. "Rich Merchant, Bill Henderson (Delco Senior Babe Ruth All-Star team manager), Harry Miller (Widener coach) and John Mooney (St. James High coach) have all given me a lot of help. "None of them has ever said he didn't have enough time for me. Every time I've asked them, they've never said no." KOKas saw as many high school games in Pennsylvania and Delaware as he could once Brandywine's season had concluded. Since he has no assistant, he does all the recruiting himself. "Every year I hope to pick up two or three good players ," he said. "This year I could use a little more pitching." His top pitcher (Thornton) came to the school on a basketball scholarship. Another key hurler (Rich DiYeso) came from New York and had no financial help. He was a walk-on. tries to get as much help as he can for his Kokas financial players. "I tell them to work on their studies and have a decent season and I'll work on some funds for them, "he said. It's almost a 12-month working job for Kokas, who is only a part-time employee at Brandywine. By BRUCE BRYDE Dally Times Staff Writer "I fooled them all," was Frank McCann's reaction to being drafted as a shortstop by the Kansas City Royals in the first round of Wednesday's secondary phase of the major league baseball selections. But, McCann had better include himself among those that were fooled. The surprise for all his followers came when he was chosen as a 'shortstop' instead of an outfielder. Nearly all the major league scouts maintained that the University of Delaware star would be more valuable in the outfield, especially in centerfield. McCann, living with his parents in Wayne, was mildy surprised himself when he went in the first round to Kansas City. After the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds made their choices, the Royals snared McCann. At 4:20 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, John Schuerholz. the Royals' Director of Scouting and Player Development called the McCann's 401 Beechtree Lane house. He informed the graduate of The Haverford School that a Kansas City representative would be out to see him early next week. After the matter of money had been discussed and a contract signed, McCann would be on his way to Sarasota, Florida by Thursday, where ail the K.C. picks would be assembled for assignments to farm clubs. "We talked a little about money," the record-holder for almost every Delaware offensive mark commented. "He said that I would get somewhere between $10.000 and $15,000 to sign." The possible S15.000 is bonus money for McCann to keep no matter what. After that, he'll be assigned to a Kansas City farm team. The triple-A team is Omaha. double-A is Jacksonville, Fla. and the A-club is Waterloo, Iowa. McCann has been led to believe that he'll be staying in Florida at the AA level with the Jacksonville Royals. The 6-0, 175 pounder was not disappointed with being chosen by- Kansas City, just surprised. "Nobody had really talked to me from Kansas City," McCann related. "I guess" I had met somebody from their organization in California." Early this spring, Delaware traveled to the RiversideCalifornia tournament where the Blue Hens faced some stiff competition in the likes of Arizona, Arizona St., USC and Stanford. After the tourney, McCann was cited as one of the standout players. It wasn't that scouts hadn't noticed the East Coast Conference's 1974 and '76 Most Valuable Player. McCann had been drafted twice before, by the the New York Mets last June, and by the New York Yankees over the winter. But, McCann had opted to play out his four years at Delaware. Besides, the Mets were offering bonus money at the $8,000 mark and the Yankees were around four-thousand. "I'm hoping that I can sign for $15,000," McCann said. "But, I'm just relieved and happy at this point." Another group seemingly just as happy as the ballplayer is the ballplayer's family. The biggest McCann fan is Frank's father. "My dad had somebody going out every half hour at work (the Link- Belt Co. in Coalman to find out if I had been drafted," the curly haired blonde said. "The call didn't come until late, and he was down when he came home, because he thought I hadn't gone yet. "I wasn't doing anything special Wednesday," McCann continued. "I just made sure that I was close enough' to the phone to hear it." So, the holder of 41 Delaware offensive records propped open the back door to his house and communed with nature until the call came. "I sat out in the sun for a while." he said. "I wasn't thinkin' about much." "Yes I was," the slugger contradicted himself. "It was more like I was thinkin" about a million things all at once." "My parents and I had done a lot of talkin' and my father was pretty edgy. I was nervous." His three sisters were also elated at the word. One was so proud of him. she called several area radio stations to pass along the news. T h e M c C a n n f a m i l y also celebrated in their usual tight-knit way. And, friends will be calling to wish him well. But, the celebration wil be short- lived. By this time next week, the fleet-footed shortstop will be in Florida in his first step towards a possible major league career. Coppol carries Claymont hopes By BOB FRANKLIN Daily Times Sports Writer NEWARK, Del.- They say that pitching is the name of the game in baseball. Especially in high school baseball. But when the Delaware State championship is decided here Saturday afternoon, don't look for a classic pitchers' duel. The two finalists will not have their best available for the championship showdown. If you like pitching, come early. The four survivors will be sending their best pitchers to the mound for the 11 a.m. semifinal round. A pair of No. 2 pitchers will be in the spotlight for the finals at 2 p.m. here at the University of Delaware. Claymont will count on Walt Coppol (10-1) in the opening game against Conrad, which will counter with Doug Allen (9-3). They play on the freshman field. Meanwhile, on the varsity diamond, Salesianum will be sending Ed Szymanski (9-0) against Dickinson's Rich Cook (7-1). If all four No. 1 pitchers go the distance, then they will each be allowed to pitch only two innings in the championship game. Delaware rules state that no high school pitcher may pitch more than nine innings in a 48-hour period. That means that should there be a 0-0 deadlock after nine innings in the semis, out go the starters and in come the relievers. All four coaches have the same philosophy. "First," they say, "we think about getting to the finals." The four surviving teams advanced last Saturday in the opening round. Should Claymont win its opener, Mike Gottselig will be the Indians' championship game pitcher. Coppol, if the opening game doesn't exceed seven innings, would be available for two innings of relief. Interboro has material to bid for title again in Randy Jones of the San Diego Padre* hat been the early-- season pitching senatlon in the major league*. He's potted an 11-2 record and2.28 earned run average. By BRUCE HAMMEL GLENOLDEN- Interboro High's baseball team, which bowed to Downingtown in the District 1 championship game, has the material to make a strong bid for the title again next year. Two of the returning players, Mark Cole and Mike Hagner, have been regulars for two years, A third, right- handed pitcher Glen Kendro, won all four of his decisions in '76. Cole, a shortstop, surfaced as a .428 hitter with 37 runs batted In after batting .290 his sophomore year. He struck out just five times in 84 at-bats, and stole 14 bases. Because he makes good contact, Cole is an ideal number two hitter in the order. He's a good hunter and can hit behind the runner well. Cole admittedly needs work on his fielding, but has shown enough promise to draw the attention of Phillies scouts. "1 need work on fielding groundballs," Mark said. "Some times I don't get down far enough. "Jerry Kennedy (assistant coach) has been working with me pretty much, though, and I'm getting better." Cole has a strong arm and quick hands, so it should be just a matter of time before he develops into an all- around player. Hagner has batted in the pressure-packed third position since the start of last season. With leadoff man Tommy Robinson and Cole getting on oase consistently, Hagner frequently came to plate with men in scoring position. He responded by batting .320, but didn't consider it to be an exceptionally good year for him . "I didn't feel relaxed at the plate," said the left- handed hitting outfielder. "I was thinking too much UD there. " Hagner said Interboro was able to finish with a 20-4 record because the players played together as a team. It was felt that Interboro might not have the pitching to go all the way this year, but Ed Wilbank, up from last year's JV team, responded with eight wins. Chuck Totman contributed six and Kendro four. Next season, again, the pitchers will be on the spot. "If the pitching comes through, we'll do it," said Hagner. "We'll have good hitting and defense and a lot of speed on the bases." Besides Kendro, key pitchers will be Bob Lees and Paul lacono, a standout JV pitcher as a junior in '78. "We should have a good team next year," said Cole "But I'm not going to make any predictions. Last fall, 1 predicted our football team would go undefeated and we finished 1-9. This spring 1 thought our baseball team would finish 10-10 and we won the Section 2 title." ^ ' J ' . f

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