In the 2005 season, John
Baker's Chesapeake Boy's Lacrosse team went 0-15. His teams only won 18
games in eight seasons, so he decided to try
has helped the Bayhawks to a perfect record.
“We knew we were going to lose some games no matter what, so I decided
to play freshmen,” Baker said. “All that mattered was to get them to
Those five freshmen in 2006 were Michael Brooks, Will Daniels, David
Kline, Brandon Stiffer and Sterling Teel. The Bayhawk coach's plan paid
off as the team has gradually gotten better each year. They started off
3-13 in 2006, 6-8 in '07 and 12-3 in ‘08. With nine games so far this
season, Baker's team is now a perfect 9-0. The Bayhawks have also
gotten help from Sterling's brother Justin Teel, a
Sterling Teel closes in on Patapsco’s Dyland Orem.
transfer over from
Eastern Tech, and from Attacker Joe Figas. While the Bayhawk's success
is a surprise to many, it's something Baker knew his team could achieve.
“I told them that if they stayed together as a team I would take them
to the promise land,” Baker said. “This is a very special group.”
The offense averages around 15 goals a game, but more impressively, the
defense has only allowed 12 goals in nine games. Sophomore Goalie
Austin Copeland leads the defense. As he did for his five seniors,
Baker didn't believe in sitting his goalie on the bench. Copeland
played in all 15 of Chesapeake's games in 2008 as he was alternated in
and out of the goal as a freshman. Now Copeland is the starting goalie
and has already recorded three shutouts in his eight wins. Baker said
Copeland still has the potential to get better.
“He knows I won't be happy until he has more consistent play,” Baker
The biggest win of the season and the history of Bayhawk's lacrosse
came on March 27 when they humbled rival Kenwood 17-4. It finally made
the team realize they were for real.
“We have never beaten Kenwood in our history,” Baker said. “(Back in
2008) we were intimated and fell behind 6-0. We were able to come back
and only lost 10-6. Then we realized that they aren't much better they
us and we can play with them.”
After the huge Kenwood victory, Bayhawk players were excited, but Baker
reminded them of taking one game at a time.
He believes if this team can stay focused, they have a great chance of
making a run in the 2A/1A playoffs. This is amazing considering only
four of Chesapeake's players have played lacrosse before high school.
Of course turning a lacrosse program around is nothing new for Baker.
He coached at Lake Clifton and took that team to a Regional
Championship. Baker was named Baltimore County Lacrosse Coach of the
Year for 2008 and National Coach of the Year in 2005.
“We go on fundamentals. We do fundamentals everyday,” Baker said. “We
work hard on fundamentals for our practices.”