Bethesda Big Train Manager Derek Hacopian is facing one of those problems managers love.
He has two of the Clark C. Griffith Collegiate Baseball League's top hitters in Maryland's Chuck Easter and Towson's Gregg Davies. But they both play first base.
"Chuck and Gregg are both outstanding players," said Hacopian, whose team is 5-1 in the second half heading into tonight's game against Southern Maryland. "Both play good defense and have shown equal power. Chuck is more of a pull guy, but he can go the other way like Gregg. . . . Right now, it's hard to say who's better."
In an effort to keep both bats in the lineup, Hacopian had Easter and Davies split time at first base and designated hitter in the first half of the season. Recently, though, Davies moved to the outfield, allowing Easter to play first.
Easter, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound left-hander, is tied for second in runs batted in (19) and third in hitting (.340). Easter hit .314 with 17 doubles, 3 home runs and 35 RBI for Maryland last spring.
Davies, an All-Met from Sherwood High School, went 6 for 8 with six RBI and was named most valuable player at the July 4 Capital Hardball Classic at Shirley Povich Field and is among the league's best hitters.
"I think it's a tribute to Gregg's athletic ability that he can play the outfield," Hacopian said. "He still needs some work, but he catches every ball hit to him and he has a good arm. . . . I think being able to play the outfield is going to help Gregg's chances of making the pros one day."
Senators Wield Big Bats
With four of the league's top five hitters, it's easy to see why the Arlington Senators are the best team in the Clark Griffith League.
Heading into tonight's doubleheader against Vienna, Arlington (19-8 overall, 5-1 second half) has won six of seven. The Senators won the first-half title in a playoff with Southern Maryland.
The Senators' four top hitters are Jared Dufault, Matt Wolski, Taylor Wood and Trey Lunsford. Dufault, a 6-2, 195-pound outfielder from Illinois State, leads the league in hitting (.379), home runs (4) and RBI (25) and is third in stolen bases (9).
Wolski, a sophomore at Rutgers, leads the league in on-base percentage (.462) and is tied for second with 19 RBI. He also ranks fifth in hitting with a .313 average. Yesterday, the 5-10, 180-pound second baseman was named the league's player of week.
Wood, a 6-0, 175-pound infielder from Florida, leads the league in stolen bases (15) and is second in hitting (.360). Lunsford, a 6-2, 200-pound catcher from Texas Tech, is fourth in hitting (.315) and tied for fifth in RBI (17).
Gold for North Team
The North baseball team won its first Commonwealth Games of Virginia gold medal since 1995 last weekend in Salem. The team, made up of players from Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties and coached by Potomac's Mike Covington, won all four of its games by a combined 37-10.
The North team has finished first or second every year since 1990 except 1997. Twenty-three players who have at one time played on the North team have been drafted by a major league team, the most in the state.
This year's team -- all seniors except for Woodbridge's Alan Day -- was led by Hayfield's Jeremy Cleveland, who batted .583, as well as North Stafford's Chris Ashinhurst (.571), Robinson's Nick Shimer (7 RBI) and Courtland's Lee Meador (7 stolen bases). But it was pitching that impressed Covington.
"This team had the best pitching staff we've ever brought down there," said Covington, who has won five gold medals coaching the North team. "The last couple years we ran out of pitching in the finals. So this year we went with a lot more two-way guys, eight of them that could pitch and play another position."
Four pitchers earned victories -- Chantilly's Joe Koshansky, Potomac's Steve Gonzales, Robinson's Adam Gardner and Paul VI's Todd Boessen. Boessen threw a five-hitter in the 6-1 victory over the West in Sunday's gold medal game.