With the high school and college baseball seasons completed, the Industrial, American Legion, Babe Ruth and numerous major and senior leagues now have the opportunity to showcase some of the better area players.
The highest level of competition is in the Industrial League, which includes seven squads from Maryland and one from Virginia. The teams from Maryland -- the Black Sox, Bowie, Mercury Van Lines, Rockville Mailing Service, Sikes Construction, Smitty's Lounge and the Union Printers -- play throughout the week at Wheaton Regional, Olney Manor, Cabin John Regional, Cosca Regional, Swann Park and Walker Mill. All games are at 7 p.m.
In addition, the American Legion, which features several top college and high school players, will be split into two divisions -- one made up of Montgomery County teams and the other with teams from Prince George's, Charles and Anne Arundel counties.
Montgomery has six teams: Rockville, Bethesda, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Wheaton and Cissel Saxon. Oxon Hill, Greenbelt, College Park, Cheverly and Clinton are from Prince George's; Mayo is from Anne Arundel and Indian Head is from Charles.
Several of the top high school players will compete in the Montgomery seniors and majors along with Prince George's senior Babe Ruth.
Smitty's Lounge was leading the Industrial League last week, via an 11th-inning victory over Fairfax Furniture. Rick Lehosky is batting over .400 for Smitty's, which also has Paul Grzyb, a center fielder who has broken several records at American University. Grzyb led the Eastern College Athletic Conference this spring with a .470 average.
Smitty's lost former major league pitcher Steve Farr to the Kansas City Royals AAA team. But Mark Calvert, who spent spring training with the Cincinnati Reds, brings major league capability to the team. Rob Michael (George Mason) will help out the pitching staff.
Sikes Construction has the league's leading hitter from last year, Ray Gerard (Frostburg), returning. John Denman, who had been released by the Baltimore Orioles while at Rochester (AAA), has three home runs in two games. However, Sikes Manager Wayne Nail says Denman may be back in the Orioles system in the near future.
Outfielder Jeff Bengtson, who hit over .300 for Maryland, is hitting over .400 for Sikes. Randy Berlin (Virginia Tech), an all-Metropolitan shortstop for Wheaton, is one of the few high school players in the league. He also will play for the Wheaton American Legion team that includes Jeff Bonner, Rockville High School's all-Met outfielder.
Mercury Van Lines has several players to watch including catcher Chris Hudson (formerly of Seattle and the Orioles system) and pitchers Joe Salisbury (top reliever for Virginia Tech this spring), Michael Walker (Memphis State) and R.J. Bistle (Maryland).