Baltimore claims UA Underclass Highlight boys lacrosse championship; locals fall in Command semifinals

Calvert Hall’s Daniel Kelly (left) was the Most Valuable Player while St. Paul’s Jack Stuzin spearheaded the defense as Baltimore won the Highlight Division title at the Under Armour Underclass Tournament Sunday. The locals defeated Washington, 9-4, at Towson University.

by Derek Toney

After being shutout last year, Baltimore returned to the championship circle at the Under Armour Underclass Games Sunday at Towson University.

The locals placed first in the Highlight Division with a 9-4 victory over the District. Baltimore fell short of a sweep, losing in the Command Division semifinals to CONNY, 11-6.

Rising sophomore midfielder Ben Smith (Boys’ Latin School) scored two goals for Baltimore, and Matt Dixon (Loyola Blakefield) added a goal and an assist.

Charm City was the last team standing in the Highlight Division as rising juniors Jack Koras (Loyola Blakefield) and Brendan Grimes (Boys’ Latin School) each had two goals and an assist, and Daniel Kelly (Calvert Hall College) scored twice.

Kelly, a rising junior attack who will play for North Carolina in the spring of 2021, was named Most Valuable Player of the Highlight tournament. Kelly scored 25 goals in six games.

Kelly, who helped Calvert Hall to a second straight MIAA A Conference title, said winning the Under Armour event is significant.

“Two years ago, Baltimore went 0-9 and last year, they lost in the quarterfinals, but I think this means a lot for Baltimore,” said Kelly. “You’re playing for something more.”

“One thing that brought our team down before was egos, but I didn’t see none of that,” said defensemen Jack Stuzin from St. Paul’s School. “I had a perfect view of the offense and there was always one more pass. No one was taking selfish shots and it was really fun to watch.”

Stuzin, who was selected to the all-Highlight tourney team, was part of an impressive Baltimore defensive effort (allowed 26 goals in six games). The Charm City swallowed Philadelphia, 10-3, in the semifinals earlier on Sunday.

Grimes, who’s committed to Ohio State, recorded a hat trick while Kelly and Koras (committed to Maryland) each cracked the back of the net twice. Rising senior goalie Noah Klein (Gilman) had seven saves.

With Baltimore holding a 6-4 advantage in the finale, but down a man to start the fourth, Klein came up with a save. The locals got an extra-man situation, and Kelly finished a pass from Liam Powderly (McDonogh) for a 7-4 lead.

Jack Sawyer (Calvert Hall) and Koras tacked on scores as Baltimore completed a perfect 6-0 run through a sultry hot weekend. The squad, coached by Calvert Hall’s Brian Kelly, mainly featured MIAA A players.

“What separates us was guys embracing their roles,” said Brian Kelly. “We had some guys we asked to play shortstick d-middie like Alex Breschi, Will Godine and Alex Wicks. A lot of guys were about the team.”