Dundalk Eagle High School Athletes of the Season: Spring 2013
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 11:54


Zyle Babcock, DHS baseball

Led Dundalk to regional title with bat, arm

by Bill Gates

    It was the shot (eventually) heard ’round, well, Dundalk.
    Zyle Babcock’s leadoff home run in the top of the ninth inning lifted Dundalk to a stunning 6-5 win over top-seeded Loch Raven for the Class 2A North regional title.
    (It’s a shame it didn’t come in the bottom of the inning. Then we could have had someone shouting “The Owls win the region! The Owls win the region!”)
    But Babcock, The Eagle’s Spring Athlete of the Season, doesn’t consider that home run to be the highlight of his season.
    “I’ll never forget that home run,” he said. “I can’t believe I hit that, even now.”
    But the Owl junior most treasures the previous game, in which he threw a one-hit shutout against second-seeded Lansdowne in the regional semifinals.
    “That game sent a message that we were coming to win,” Babcock said.
    It was also completely unexpected. Dundalk started the season 0-6 and entered the regional playoffs with a 7-8 record.
    That 3-0 win over Lansdowne, during which he struck out 10 batters, gave the Owls a winning record for the first time all season.
    “When we were 0-6, I still had hope,” Babcock said. “But it was tough. A lot of guys were down, a lot of people didn’t think we would come close to winning.”
    The turning point, oddly enough, came during another Dundalk loss.
    With Babcock pitching, the Owls took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning against a good Dulaney team before losing in the bottom of the seventh, 5-4.
    The loss dropped Dundalk to 1-7, but “that was the turnaround,” Babcock said. “They were a really good team, really talented, and we had them beat. It just slipped out of our hands.
    “But we knew if we kept playing like that, we could beat any team.”
    The Owls went 9-2 the rest of the season, which ended with a 10-0 loss to eventual state champion Catoctin in the Class 2A state semifinals.
    It was the first regional title for Dundalk since 1994, and only the second since the Owls won a state championship in 1983.
    Babcock did his part to help the Owls get there, leading Dundalk’s starters with a .400 batting average, a .586 on-base percentage and a .925 slugging percentage.
    He also led Dundalk in hits (16), runs (20), home runs (3) and RBIs (21).
    Babcock was second on the team in stolen bases (10), walks (10) and struck out three times in 40 at-bats.
    As a pitcher, Babcock had a 3-3 record with a 3.31 ERA in 36 innings.
    He had 61 strikeouts to 16 walks and opponents batted .186 against him.
    “Zyle is a tremendous leader and has matured and developed into a great player,” Dundalk coach Brian Powell said. “He pitched every big game for us, and when he was on the mound, we knew we would be in the game and have a chance to win by putting up only a couple of runs.
    “He always came through in the clutch and led by example.”
    Babcock, who was named second-team All-Baltimore County and first-team All-Baltimore County Division III, has also been selected to play in the MSABC Juniors Classic on June 24 at the Bowie Baysox Stadium.
    The game features the top 11th-grade baseball players in the state.
    Also considered for Athlete of the Season was Patapsco High junior Lyndale Bethea, who won the Baltimore County high jump title, finished second in the high jump at the regional championships and was tied for sixth in the event at the Class 3A state championships.

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Kaitlin Isabell, SPHS track and field

First local athlete to win state track title since 1990 

by Bill Gates

    How unlikely was the Class 1A high jump state title won by Sparrows Point High junior Kaitlin Isabel?
    Well, if circumstances had been slightly different, she wouldn’t even had been there to win the event.
    Isabell, The Eagle’s Spring Female Athlete of the Season, normally played tennis in the spring.
    But, after an indoor track season that saw her win a regional high jump title, finish third in Baltimore County and fourth in the Class 1A state championships — as well as being named The Eagle’s Winter Athlete of the Season — Isabell decided to give track and field a go.
    You might say that decision paid off.
    “I do still miss the carefree attitude of tennis,” Isabell said. “But I am happy I did track.”
    Isabell won the Class 1A state high jump title in dramatic fashion, outdueling Maggie Sullivan in a “jump-off” after both girls finished tied for first with the same number of misses.
    For Isabell, it was already a milestone: she cleared five feet in competition for the first time (she had previously twice made the height in practice).
    She also cleared five feet immediately after Sullivan made the height, which had put Isabell in the position of “make it or finish second.”
    Then, during the jump-off, Sullivan missed at five feet (after both missed at 5-2 and 5-1) and Isabell cleared it to earn the gold medal.
    Isabell didn’t start high jumping until her sophomore year, when Sparrows Point indoor track coach Geoff Holland auditioned members of the team as high jumpers.
    The week before the May 25 state track championships, Holland (who doesn’t coach spring track and field) gave Isabell a boost while teaching an AVID class.
    “Dr. Holland told the class, ‘Sparrows Point’s only chance to win a state championship is Saturday, when Isabell is jumping,’” Kaitlin said.
    Right. No pressure.
    Isabell was so locked in as she prepared for the state championships, she told her friends to not attend the meet.
    “This is not a day for goofing around,” she said after winning the state title. “And my friends would have been goofing around.”
    How unlikely was Isabell’s state title? It was the first track and field state title for a local school since Dundalk’s win in the 3,200-meter relay in 1990.
    Isabell was motivated by the memory of the indoor state championship meet, where she would have won the title had she cleared 4-foot-10 like she had at the Baltimore County championships.
    “At the state championships, I did remember the indoor meet and I used that resentment to push myself to my full potential,” Isabell said.
    “As Dr. Holland said, I need to remember that pain I felt after the indoor states, and I need to think about that every time I want to give up.”
    As a senior, her goal is to jump her height — 5-2 — if not higher, and hope to attract interest from college coaches.
    “Being state champion has not sunk in yet,” she said. “I know it’s a great accomplishment, but I can’t let my head get too big, and I need to keep moving forward to improve.”
    Also considered for athlete of the season was Sparrows Point softball player Natalie Lau, who was named to the All-Baltimore County first team and All-Division II first team after batting .525 in 61 at-bats.