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Remembering a coach and a friend

The Huntingtown baseball team held its inaugural Guy Smith Sr. Memorial Tournament on Saturday and also unveiled a new plaque in honor of the former assistant coach who passed away in 2011.

Former players and coaches, such as Severna Park head coach Eric Milton, who roomed and played with Huntingtown head baseball coach Guy Smith, Jr. at the University of Maryland, College Park, wanted his team to play in the tournament in order to attend the unveiling.

Below are some excerpts from Guy Smith Jr. before the plaque of his late father was unveiled.

“My sister [Robin Lively] and I just wanted to make this a celebration where we just wanted to tell stories … I’m glad I didn’t get thrown out in honor of [my dad]. ... There’s a lot of coaches that are standing in the back that my dad coached with, so thank you for coming. ... When they were recruiting for football, everywhere they went revolved around a restaurant so when they went somewhere, it was because there was a barbecue place or a restaurant there they had to stop and eat at…. My dad would come in every Saturday [to practice] when he coached with doughnuts and if anyone knows my dad, [taking just] one would [tick] him off. You could not take one doughnut…

“The best part was after I got my first coaching job, the first person I asked [to assist me] was my father and I got to spend 11 years with him everyday. We had some tough days and some throw-ins, but those 11 years are some I’ll never be able to replace spending every day with him on the field. He taught me the things I’m teaching the kids now…

“When I was at Maryland, he went to every game of mine … My dad would go to [James Madison University] on a Tuesday. Guys would say, ‘What’s he doing?,’ but he worked nights so he could watch games and he would watch guys [even when I wasn’t playing]…

“It’s really nice to have everyone out here with us. We finally got sunshine; I don’t know if it’ll last, but I think that’s something shining down on us that we have a good day for us.”

MICHAEL REID

It’s a good bet that wherever Guy “Smitty” Smith Sr. is, he’s sporting an ear-to-ear grin after the Huntingtown baseball team swept both games of its inaugural Guy Smith Sr. Memorial Tournament on Saturday.

Smith, the father of Huntingtown head baseball coach Guy Smith Jr. and the grandfather of senior outfielder Guy Smith III, passed away June 11, 2011, and the Hurricanes honored him right by sweeping both of its games from Anne Arundel County-based teams.

Huntingtown 12, Severna Park 4

Severna Park 000 202 0 — 4 5 7

Huntingtown 342 201 x — 12 9 2

WP Fallon, LP Millenburg

Extra-base hits: 2B — Fallon (H); HR — Fallon (H), Piazza (H), Millenburg (SP)

Huntingtown opened the tournament with a convincing 12-4 rout of Severna Park and then added a 5-0 win over Southern, which earned the split after its 4-1 win over the Falcons.

“It was a good day, and it started with the weather breaking,” Smith Jr. said. “We actually played very good baseball and won two games. We made minimal mistakes and got some offense, defense and pitching. Very pleased.”

Huntingtown opened the tournament with its convincing win over mistake-plagued Severna Park, which committed seven errors along with five passed balls and two wild pitches.

The Hurricanes (3-2 overall) scored in five of six innings and led 9-0 before the Falcons (0-4) scratched out two runs in the top of the fourth.

“We made plenty of mistakes,” Severna Park head coach Eric Milton said. “We weren’t hitting and we were throwing the ball around from the beginning, and that’s a recipe for disaster, and those guys came out swinging the bats.”

Huntingtown wasted no time grabbing the early lead when it plated three runs in the first inning on an RBI double by Timmy Fallon, an RBI single from Brian McCourt and a passed ball.

Huntingtown added four more runs in the second, highlighted by a two-run home run from senior Zach Piazza, who pounded a 1-ball, no-strike pitch well over the left field fence. Tim Palowski drove in another run with a single, and Tyler Burroughs scored on an error.

“It was a long time coming,” Piazza said of his round-tripper, his first since his sophomore season. Piazza missed all of last season after tearing ligaments in his thumb during preseason. “It was a day where everybody came to swing, and the bats came through today.”

After two more runs in the third, Timmy Fallon crushed a two-run home run well over the 343-foot sign in center in the fourth. Fallon was just a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

“It was just see ball, hit ball kind of thing, and it came in where I needed it and hit it out,” Fallon said. “I just felt comfortable and had a good stroke today, and balls were carrying because it was warm out.”

Grant Millenburg hit a two-run home run for Severna Park in the fourth, and Reid Kowalski added a two-run single in the sixth for the Falcons.

The beneficiary of all the Huntingtown offense was Fallon, who allowed two runs on two hits in five innings of work. Fallon, who throws right but hits left, also struck out four and walked three.

“People were making plays for me,” Fallon said, “so I just had to throw strikes and get guys out.”

Josh Matthews and Palowski also saw some time on the hill for the Hurricanes.

Piazza said pouncing on the Falcons’ miscues was key to the win.

“That’s what you have to do, make them make the plays, and if we do that, we put pressure on them and that’s where you score your runs,” he said.

The long ball also figured prominently in the win over Southern. Tommy Labriola smashed two homers, and Josh Yost added one for the Hurricanes.

Labriola sent balls out of the yard in the fourth and sixth innings — the latter a two-run shot — and Yost hit his in the third. Guy Smith III singled to score Fallon in a three-run sixth inning.

Piazza threw a complete game shutout and gave up five hits while fanning six.

“Today was great,” Fallon said following Game 1. “It was finally warm out, and we were happy to have some warm weather and finally play some good baseball.”

mreid@somdnews.com