Thanks to a ruling last week by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association's Appeals Committee, the Arundel High baseball team has its 2004 victories back. But the reversal of an Anne Arundel County Board of Arbitration's ruling that junior first baseman Brian Hobbs was ineligible to play came about a month too late.

In mid-May, the Wildcats were forced to forfeit their 16 regular season victories when Hobbs -- who enrolled at Arundel in the fall after transferring from North Dorchester -- was ruled ineligible. In addition to the forfeits, Hobbs was unable to play the rest of the year.

Because of the MPSSAA Appeals Committee's decision, Hobbs is now eligible, and the Wildcats' 2004 record officially will be 16-5.

But some believe that the damage caused by the initial decision -- the premature end to a promising Wildcats season -- is irreparable.

In the Maryland 4A East Region quarterfinals (Arundel had a bye in the first round), the Wildcats lost in extra innings to eventual region champ Thomas Stone. According to Walter, the original ruling had a negative effect on his team.

"It absolutely did," Walter said. "I can't begin to tell you how deflated the whole team was when we found out the penalty. The last two games, they were doing no more than going through the motions. . . . We weren't recognized in any of the polls at the end of the year. Everyone dropped us like a hot potato, which was probably the right call at the time. And some of our kids got slighted in recognition."

Hobbs to All-Star Team

According to Walter, Hobbs has been named to the National Amateur Baseball Federation All-Star team to compete in the 2004 USA Baseball Tournament of Stars in Joplin, Mo., along with all-star teams from six other baseball organizations and an at-large team selected by USA Baseball.

The tournament serves as a showcase for players and the basis on which USA Baseball selects its junior national team. According to the USA Baseball Web site, 28 players will be selected to remain in Joplin after the tournament, and USA Baseball will select the 20-player junior national team based on exhibition and intersquad games. . . . Brian McCormick, the Wildcats' top hitter last season, was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 37th round of the 2004 draft. McCormick, a catcher, batted .472 and led Arundel in doubles (10), RBI (25), walks (15), slugging percentage (.811) and on-base percentage (.594).

Walter said McCormick still plans to play for St. Petersburg (Fla.) Junior College next year.

Spalding Elevates Trumpler

Archbishop Spalding has chosen Nikki Trumpler as its new softball coach. Trumpler, who guided the Cavaliers' junior varsity last season, replaces Linda Taylor, who won five state private school tournament titles and 10 league titles in her 15 years as coach.

Trumpler is a 1995 graduate of Spalding, where she played soccer and softball. She teaches in the art department at the school.

"I have tremendous confidence in Nikki's ability to teach, coach, lead and to motivate our athletes," Spalding Athletic Director Lee Dove said in a release. "Our program remains in good hands, and the future looks very bright for Archbishop Spalding softball."

Connelly Tied for 21st

Three-time All-Met golfer Stephanie Connelly, a senior at Northeast High, finished tied for 21st at the American Junior Golf Association's Thunderbird International Junior tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., in late May.

Connelly had a three-round total of 229 (75-73-81) at Grayhawk Golf Course's Raptor Course.

CONNELLY