In the upsurge of area college baseball, George Washington and Catholic University compiled strong enough records this spring to be considered for tournament play leading to the NCAA World Series at Ohaha, Neb., in June.
Bids are expected to go out in the ECAC's District II in mid-May. If the Colonials or and the Cardinals are called players will have to be summoned from their semester breaks.
Catholic finished its season at 14-6, the best spring in coach Bob Talbot's 12 years at Brookland, and No. 2 behind 19-2 St. John's as the top team among 26 District II independents. GW's 14-7 record, which includes wins over some traditional baseball powers, rates No. 5 in District II and is the Colonials' best spring record in five years.
The format for the ECAC playoffs is a pair of four-team double-elimination tournaments. Winners advance to the NCAA Northeastern Regional tournament, and the winter there goes to Omaha.
"Both (GW and CU) are probably going to be looked at very closely," said Bob Hannah, baseball coach at Delware and a member of the district selection committee. "We'll consider everything: overall record, pitching statistics, strength of schedule.
"We want to know if teams are capable of playing in tournaments. A team with only one pitcher would not last in a double-elmination tournament."
Both GW and CU are more than one-pitcher teams, a testimony to the fall baseball program started by area schools five years ago. It has improved competition, since the spring because prospects can now look forward to about 45 games a school year.
"Except for November, December and January," said Mike Maher, a CU relief pitcher from Camden, N.J., "you either have practice or a game and you can stay close to home."
Indeed, the GW roster reads like an all-star team from suburban Maryland and the CU roster is loaded with players from local parochial schools.
GW has been playing standout ball against some Eastern powers recently. The Colonials handed Penn State its only loss and swept a double-header recently from Hannah's Delaware team, which has won 20 games.
GW's top two hitters and best pitchers are all homebred. Second baseman Joel Oleinik, whose current 432 batting average is seventh in the ECAC, comes from Woodward High; Mike Howell, a pitcher-first baseman with a .379 average, from Friendly High, and freshman Bob Keith, a left-hander with a 6-0 record, from Churchill.
At CU. Val Van Deventer, the Cardinals superb center fielder, is from St. John's, and he is hitting .448; catcher Tim McCormick, a four-year starter from Gonzago, is batting 381, and pitcher-left fielder Mark Travaglini of Wheaton is hitting .325 and has a 4-0 record with a 2.16 ERA.
Only Rob Carney, a lefthander with a 6-4 record and 2.17 ERA, is an outsider among the pitching and batting leaders at the two schools. He is from Delaware.