2019 Crab Claw Classic Highlights

Spalding's McCormick Shines at Crab Claw Classic
Article by James Peters in Capital Gazette 8/3/2019
BALTIMORE – Having already committed to Liberty University (Va.), Archbishop Spalding senior Ethan McCormick did not have to use this weekend’s 17th annual Crab Claw Classic to impress any potential college suitors, but his ability to flash the leather and mow down would-be base runners from the left side of the infield probably had some college recruiters hoping for a change of heart.

McCormick, a slick-fielding shortstop who also saw time at third base Saturday at Babb Field at Stromberg Stadium on the campus of Johns Hopkins University, walked away from the two-day event after being recognized as the All-Maryland All-Stars co-top fielder with Gilman’s Ryan Williamson. He then showed that defensive brilliance during the All-Maryland team’s commanding 13-2 victory, including throwing out a runner on a slow roller down the left field line that he adeptly scooped and slung to first base, just in time.

“Just to get more games and meet new people and I love (Curley) coach (Brooks) Norris, of course” said McCormick on his attendance. “He’s a great coach. I know a couple of people on the other team. I just want to play more games because you never know when it’s going to end.
“I didn’t hit as well today as I wanted to. Today was pretty fun, a good win, a lot of hits. I wish I could have contributed (offensively).”

The 17th annual Crab Claw Classic, which also included a combine workout on Friday at Calvert Hall High School, featured more than 130 competitors from up and down the Mid-Atlantic Region, including New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The top 36 players from those Friday workouts were selected for Saturday’s all-star game.

“This year we had a good reach,” said Crab Claw founder and Old Mill graduate Lou Holcomb, whose son Riley, a three-sport star at Gilman, played for the Maryland squad and earned a share of the top hitter for contact award with Calvert Hall’s Mike Wineke. “We added a few from New York, where we normally have a hard time getting into, and we got back into Virginia, which was great. It was pretty good coverage. The final tally, I think, was over 130.”

Along with McCormick, Anne Arundel County was represented by North County left-handed pitcher Carson Lowman, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh with a strikeout of McCormick and a fielder’s choice ground ball to second base. He nearly picked off Riley Holcomb at first base, but the tag was not applied in time.

“It was nice playing at a nice college field like Johns Hopkins,” Lowman said. “It was a pretty cool experience. It was good to work out (of the jam). I just had to calm down and keep my composure.”
Lowman’s performance was not indicative of how the rest of the Mid-Atlantic All-Stars pitched as they gave up eight runs in the first three innings en route to the most lopsided loss in the game’s 17-year history. The previous high had been nine, an 18-9 victory by Maryland in 2012.

The Maryland All-Stars struck first on back-to-back doubles by Williamson and Reservoir’s Daniel Elliott, the game’s Most Valuable Player, while facing Jeremy Steele of Dover (Del.), whose hair and mannerisms mimicked those of former San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum. That lead swelled to 4-0 in the second inning on a pair of singles and a costly error at shortstop on a ball that looked destined for a 6-4-3 double play.

Curley’s James Gladden belted a three-run home run over the left center field fence and Andrew Wells singled in a run in the third for an 8-0 Maryland advantage. The Mid-Atlantic All-Stars scored its first run in the top of the fourth on an error. Loyola’s Jack Belbot crushed a solo home run to right center field for a 9-1 lead in the sixth inning for Maryland. An infield single trimmed the deficit to 9-2 in the top of the eighth, but it grew back an eight-run deficit with Gerstell Academy’s Christopher Hagan scoring on a throwing error in the bottom half of the inning. Thomas Johnson’s Trevor Yusco stroked a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to round out the scoring.