High School Baseball Poll - Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
For Immediate Release: Tuesday (May 4, 1999)
BELLAIRE H.S. NO. 1 IN EASTON SPORTS COLLEGIATE BASEBALL NEWSPAPER (www.baseballnews.com) POLL
TUCSON, Ariz. An aftermath of the Columbine H.S. slaughter in Colorado may have had an indirect effect on the sudden fall by Barbe High, which suffered its first two losses of the season as Bellaire of Texas vaulted into first place in the latest Easton National Original High School poll.
Undefeated Barbe of Lake Charles, La., scheduled to play two tune-up contests as state playoff time neared, was forced to evacuate the school building by a bomb scare. "The entire school had to be evacuated in a hurry, and there was considerable anxiety and panic by students and teachers," said Coach Glenn Cecchini. "It was part of the national craze that swept the country after the Colorado shootings.
"We didnt know if this was the real thing or not. A lot of the students were really frightened. And we lost two games to very fine teams, Sulfur, 9-5 and Jesuit of New Orleans, 5-3, leaving us with a 32-2 record." Cecchini said his team played poorly, "but the best team won these games we cant use this as an excuse." Barbe still is on track to reach the state playoffs, despite the losses.
Bellaire, coached by the veteran Rocky Manual, won its 21st consecutive game to push its record to 28-1 to move into the top spot. Kyle Smith, with 15 HRs, and Matt Laird, with an 11-0 mound mark, have been two of the principal catalysts in guiding BHS to its dream season.
Barbes Cecchini, whose team has swatted 70 HRs in 34 games to shatter its team home run record by far, slipped to No. 4, following Westminster Academy of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 28-2, and Start of Toledo, Ohio, 12-0. Barbes 47-game win streak over two seasons was stopped by its losses.
Rich Hofman of Westminster Academy joins Manual of Bellaire and Cecchini of Barbe as a candidate for Coach of The Year. In his first season at the Fort Lauderdale school, he has amazed everyone by coming up with a national powerhouse in his first try.
Coach Rich Arbinger of Start high in Toledo saw his club soar to a 12-0 record and the No. 3 ranking. Arbingers team enjoyed nine shutouts in its first 12 games. The top three hurlers have given up only one earned run all season. Start has a team ERA of 0.50, led by the pitching of Derrick Peterson, 5-0; Taylor Eckel, 3-0 and freshman Justin Laraway, 4-0.
Carlsbad, N.M., 19-1, has been getting solid production from All-American Cody Ross and junior Bryan Hall. Each has 11 home runs, with Ross now owning a 28-4 mound career mark and 34 career HRs, eclipsing former CHS standout Shane Andrews mark. One of his wins was a perfect game.
Levittown Division H.S., N.Y., coached by Doug Robins, has compiled a surprising 15-0 record despite having a young team. Robins felt at seasons start that next year would be a season to remember, but it could develop into two years of joy for the New York team. Another fine ball club, Hattiesburg, Miss., owns a 23-game win streak.
(Top 30 Agate Follows)