Focus on Sports
A Perfect 10

Posted on Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Chesapeake College’s 16-3 baseball record was rewarded Wednesday as the Skipjacks broke into the national rankings at No. 10.

"It’s kind of a surprise, but I think our players have earned it," said Chesapeake head coach Frank Szymanski. "They’ve worked extremely hard and I’m happy for them and the college."

Szymanski knew his Skipjacks, who opened the season 10-0, had a shot at breaking into the ranking for a variety of reasons.

"It’s a combination of the way the kids have played, the record, the 10-0 start that grabbed people’s attention and the people we’ve beaten," said Szymanski, whose team has already defeated two nationally recognized programs in Cecil Community College and former national champion Delaware Tech.

Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, which is 32-4, starts the year ranked No. 1. Northern Oklahoma College-Enid Campus (26-9), Iowa Central Community College (19-4), and Brookdale (NJ) Community College (15-1) took the next three spots. Parkland (Ill.) College (22-7) and Elgin (Ill.) Community College (13-2) tied for fifth.

Mesa (Ariz.) Community College (25-14), Itawamba (Mo.) Community College (27-6), St. Louis Community College-Forest Park (17-8) and Chesapeake College round out the top 10.

Szymanski said his satisfaction over being ranked is tempered by the job that lies ahead.

"We want to be able to continue this," said Szymanski. "We want to be ranked at the end. The final rankings are obviously the most important, and we’ve got a long way to go."

Chesapeake is the only Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference team in any division to be ranked in the first round of polls. The Skipjacks were also third in team winning percentage and fourth in the nation in batting at .354.

Several Skipjacks appeared in the individual rankings. Clarke Rollins (3-0) and Matt Fitzgerald were each among a multitude of pitchers tied for the ERA lead at 0.00. Matt Clark was tied for sixth in saves with three.

The baseball team is the second Chesapeake program in the last two years to be nationally ranked. Chesapeake’s 2003-2004 men’s basketball team spent most of the second half of the season in the national rankings, rising as high as sixth.

Chesapeake College will put its national ranking on the line for the first time Thursday when the Skipjacks travel to Bel Air for a 3 p.m. contest against host Harford Community College.

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