Coaching Staff

The BAY BRIDGE BASEBALL ACADEMY has access to many experienced and talented coaches and former players, who are willing to share their wide range of expertise with those players who truly want to reach the next level in the sport of baseball.

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Coach Kaplanges with his son, James at Cooperstown Dreams Park in 2005.

Coach Gus Kaplanges

Coach Kaplanges has over 30 years of Youth Coaching experience and has been a youth advocate the entire time. For many years, Coach has mentored at-risk youth involved in sports. He was an appointee to the Governor’s Advisory Council for Physical Fitness and Youth Sports in the State of Maryland.

Coach Kaplanges has also been recognized by the Old Timers Baseball Association of Maryland for his over 30 years of service, contributions and dedication to the sport of baseball. He is also a member of the American Youth Baseball Hall of Fame.

None other than the late Ray Yannuzzi, a protege of Babe Ruth himself, from St. Mary’s Industrial School for boys, taught Coach Kaplanges the “art of hitting.” . Coach Kaplanges has had the opportunity to learn the art of hitting the ball the other way  (among other parts of hitting) and how to teach it to young players, from Ted Williams, the last man to hit over .400 in an MLB season. The“splendid splinter,” taught Coach Kaplanges 1 on 1 for over 3 hours.

Coach Kaplanges also had a 1 on 1 session with Ernie Banks that lasted 5 hours, about hitting a baseball, what the wrists actually should do in the swing and how to teach it. Coach Kaplanges was introduced by Gaylord Perry to Ted Williams and Ernie Banks among others. Coach Kaplanges also is in the Master Card Hole in One Hall of Fame in Dallas Texas.

Coaches and Instructors:

Mike Bielecki

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   Al Bumbry

Al Bumbry was a speedy outfielder who played 14 years in the major leagues, mostly with the Baltimore Orioles.

Bumbry attended Virginia State University before being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 11th round of the 1968 amateur draft. He began his pro career in 1969 before serving from July 1969 to June 1971 in Vietnam, where he earned a Bronze Star as platoon leader. After returning to baseball, he made his big league debut with the O’s as a September call-up in 1972.

A fixture in the Orioles’ outfield for over a decade, during that time, Bumbry’s team won four AL East titles, two American League Pennants, and the 1983 World Series. He finished in the AL top ten in batting average in 1977 (7th; .317) and 1980 (9th; .318), and among the top five in stolen bases five times.

In the 1989 Hall of Fame Game, he went 2-for-3 with a stolen base. In 1989, he played for the Winter Haven Super Sox of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. He hit .340 with 39 RBIs in 51 games with the club.After his playing days, Bumbry was a Red Sox coach from 1988 to 1993. Bumbry was later a member of the Orioles coaching staff in 1995. He had two stints as a Cleveland Indians coach, in 1998 and again in 2002.
Al Bumbry is a strong advocate for youth, willingly sharing his time, expertise and passion for baseball with youth in his community. (baseballreference.com, 2012)

    John Dopson

John Dopson has eight years of was drafted from high school by the Montreal Expos as the first selection in the 2nd round of the 1982 Major League Baseball draft, with a total of 8 years of Major Baseball experience.

His first Major League win came in 1988 when he shut out Orel Hershiser and the Dodgers.  In 1988, Dopson pitched to an overall ERA of 3.04 in 26 games and 168 innings pitched with the Expos.In 1989, Dopson pitched to a 12 win – 8 loss record with an overall ERA of 3.99.  Dopson pitched primarily out of the third spot in the starting rotation with teammates Roger Clemens, Mike Boddicker and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd.

On April 19, 1993, Dopson pitched his first career MLB complete game shutout against the Chicago White Sox on Patriots Day in Fenway Park, a day he considers to be the highlight of his time with the Red Sox.

Dopson played a total of five seasons with the Boston Red Sox. Dopson completed his Major League career with an ERA of 4.27 over 144 games pitched.

John Dopson began baseball instruction as part of a community outreach during his Major League career and has been performing instruction full time since 2006 as the owner operator of

 

John Dopson Pitching Instruction, LLC.

    Tommy Gilbert

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     Steve Hampton

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    Dave Johnson

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    James Kaplanges

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    Drew Lowman

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    Larry Meekins

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    Brian Mountain

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    Alan Osborne

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    Jesse Plummer

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    Hal Sparks

Coach Hal Sparks is celebrating his over 50 years of coaching. In 1961, he was a graduate assistant to Appalachian State baseball coach Joe Bryson. Two years later, he was the head baseball coach at Spotsylvania High School near Fredericksburg, Va., which won the state championship in 1970. One year later, he took a job teaching and coaching track at Mount St. Joe in Irvington, where he also coached baseball and wrestling.
In 1976, Sparks replaced Tom Rider as the head baseball coach at UMBC, only to return to Mount St. Joe two years later. From there it was on to John Carroll, where he coached the soccer team, and then to Towson Catholic, where he settled in as the school’s athletic director.

The 1975 Mount St. Joe team was loaded. Pundt was a 6-foot-5, 220-pound flame-thrower, who along with O’Malley in center field, helped the Brooklyn Optimist summer team of 1974 go 72-8 and win the Hot Stove League national championship. The Houston Astros drafted Pundt during the 14th round of the ’75 major league draft.

Sparks was hired as head coach for the Admirals when Andy Canterna, the cousin of the Yankee’s first baseman Mark Teixeira, had to step down after the 2008 season because of job commitments.
The fathers of his players were barely born when Sparks began his coaching career 50 years ago, though he’s remained true to his coaching roots and certainly true to what wins games at the high-school level — fundamentals, solid defense and a pitching staff that doesn’t walk batters. If you don’t want to know what Sparks is thinking, don’t ask him. And if you want to win baseball, according to the Sparks school of baseball, you need to bunt and steal bases. Coach Sparks once asked Severn players the question, “How do we end every practice?” and two players answered, “We bunt.” They bunt so much the players wear ‘We Love To Bunt” T-shirts under their uniforms.

“Our kids love that,” said Sparks,”We’ve got kids who’ve played very little baseball. We talk to ’em all the time. You may not like the coach, but one day you’ll say you played for the coach and you respected what he knew.” When asked, “Have the players changed?” Sparks replied, “I think the names change, the faces look the same,” Sparks said. “They’re kids. All they want is discipline, discipline and structure and a plan to succeed. Give them a plan, show them how to win, and they’ll take it and run with it.”

(For Full Article, see Press Box Online, Keith Mills)

Admirals lock up first in division with win over Park

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    Rick Straub

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    Mike Toomey

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    Barry Van Riper

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Baltimore Baseball Club Team Members

Coach Gus: “The great lesson of baseball is to “Stay POSITIVE, no matter what!”