The Maryland Cardinals, an under-18 baseball team that features four recent graduates from Glenelg, qualified for the National Amateur Baseball Federation's World Series this week in Jackson, Miss., by winning a region tournament last weekend in Altoona, Pa.

The Cardinals (25-10) posted victories over two teams from Pennsylvania, then defeated the defending champion Astros from Ontario, Canada, 5-2, to advance to the semifinals against the Columbia Reds.

The Cardinals put together a five-run sixth inning to break open a 5-5 tie en route to a 12-8 victory -- sending them to the championship game, where they defeated the Astros, 10-0, to secure one of 11 berths in the World Series, which begins today.

"Going in there, I thought the Columbia Reds were the team to beat because they have so many good players," said senior center fielder Tim Siders, who along with John Keravich and brothers Dan and Jeremy Tosh graduated from Glenelg in June. "But once we beat the Reds, that gave us all the momentum we needed to go on and win the tournament."

The Reds were 2-2 in the tournament and finished the season 29-15.

They entered the tournament on a four-game winning streak with high expectations; they had advanced to the final game last year.

"We totally underachieved, and it was a total disappointment because we never played to our capabilities even though we had so many good players," Coach Paul Donovan said. "The way we played in the tournament was a lot like our season because we never consistently played the way we know we can, and we never made the plays we needed to so we could win the close games."

Sure Shots Fall

The Maryland Sure Shots, an under-16 girls' basketball team that includes four players from Howard County, lost in the first round of the Amateur Athletic Union national championship tournament last week at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The Sure Shots, including Glenelg junior forward Alex Mundy, Wilde Lake junior forward Ashley Myrick, Long Reach junior forward Carly Nethken and Long Reach junior guard Nicole Thomas, had won the state title last month -- their fifth title in six seasons.

They opened pool play with loses to teams from North Carolina and Oklahoma, then posted victories over teams from Tennessee, South Carolina and Mississippi to finish third in their pool. They lost to the Greensboro Gaters in the first round of the single-elimination championship bracket.

Despite their early exit in the 106-team field, the players were able to showcase their skills in front of college coaches and scouts.

"Even though we lost, it was an awesome experience because every time you played there were college coaches watching you, and a lot of them were from big Division I schools," Mundy said. "I remember during one of our games, I saw the head coach of U-Conn. [Geno Auriemma]. It was a great experience because we played against some of the best players in the country, and it shows you how good you have to be to be able to go on and play in college."

Paizs to Maryland

Centennial senior forward Mandy Paizs said she has orally committed to play soccer for the University of Maryland in the 2005 season.

Paizs said she chose Maryland over Wake Forest and George Washington and will major in kinesiology with aspirations of becoming an athletic trainer.

"Maryland was my first choice all along," Paizs said. "I was cleaning my room the other day, and I found a letter I had written in the sixth grade, and it said that I wanted to play soccer at Maryland."

Paizs, a two-time All-County selection, scored a team-high 10 goals and had six assists last fall. "I know how hard Mandy worked this, and she really earned it," Centennial Coach Mike Senisi said. "I think she'll fit in very nicely at Maryland."

Centennial soccer player Mandy Paizs is headed for University of Maryland.