In the senior division of the Montgomery County Baseball Association, Wheaton Boys Club teams O'Neil and Weaver, named for the head coaches, not only are rivals, but also are the league's premier teams.
The teams are made up mostly of players from the Wheaton and Rockville areas. They had tryouts together, and the two coaches, Brian O'Neil and John Weaver, selected their players randomly.
In their only meeting of the year, Weaver, in its first season, defeated O'Neil, the defending MCBA champion, 9-8. Paul Holloway, a third-team all-Met selection from Richard Montgomery High School, hit a sacrifice fly with Kevin Andre on third in the eighth inning to give Weaver the victory. Weaver had to come back from a 7-1 deficit.
With O'Neil winning 14 of 15 games and Weaver going 11-1, a rematch in the playoffs seems inevitable.
"In the past, when the kids have been together, it's been a real big game," said Weaver. "We're expecting to meet them in the playoffs. They're a good team and could beat us."
"I feel that Weaver might have better pitching, but our hitting is a lot better," said O'Neil outfielder Dan Sheridan. "If we play them again we are going to beat them."
Sheridan has good reason to be so confident because he's batting .620 with an on-base average of .720. As a team, O'Neil is batting .395, compared to .310 for Weaver. Randy Berlin, Brian Duvall and Mike Horan are O'Neil's other top hitters. Berlin is batting .600, Duvall .514 and Horan .441.
Berlin, out of Wheaton High, has an on-base percentage of more than .700 and has hit six home runs. His brother, Craig, after a slow start, is batting nearly .350.
"I've been concentrating more," said Randy. "Hard work pays off and everyone on the team has been contributing to our success."
Berlin also acknowledges there is a rivalry with Weaver's team. "It's always been like this," said Berlin. "It just makes the game a little better. It's a friendly rivalry and I'm confident that we will get the key hits to win the next time we play."
O'Neil's top pitcher is Tony Long, a Good Counsel junior, who has struck out a batter an inning and is 4-1 with a 2.42 ERA.
Weaver is prepared to accept the challenge with Hank Hyde, Jovie McAndrew and Farron Riggs taking control on the pitching mound. Hyde won his first three games and has a 1.53 ERA. He pitched a no-hitter against Upper Montgomery Athletic Club and has been batting .400.
However, Riggs, out of Rockville High, has been the pitcher Weaver has called on to finish most close games. Weaver has won five one-run games. Riggs is also batting .350.
McAndrew won his first three games and has the lowest ERA of the three pitchers at 1.40. He is batting .400 and Holloway was batting over .600 through the first 10 games.
"Under the surface it's a rivalry (between the two Wheaton teams)," said Holloway.
"We all get along and we play a little more intense. When we beat them it showed that we could play. It really proved that we came together as a team. On any given day we can play. Beating the champion sure helps. It boils down to knowing it's going to be a good game when we play."
Weaver also has Jeff Bonner, Rockville's second-team all-Met outfielder, who is batting .440.