Centennial pitcher Justin Thomas pitched a three-hit shutout as the Eagles defeated Mount Hebron, 2-0, yesterday at Centennial.
Thomas, a senior transfer from San Francisco, overpowered the Vikings, striking out eight and walking only one.
Thomas, now 2-0, has pitched 14 innings this season -- fanning 16, walking two and allowing just one run. He threw a popping fastball,a curve, a change and a drop pitch.
The Eagles (5-3 overall, 2-0 league) scored single runs in the first and fifth innings off Mount Hebron starting pitcher Mike Miller, who had control problems and walked six.
Miller walked leadoff batter Sam Yurko in the first inning. Thomas, the next batter, hit an opposite-field single to right field. Brian Bickerton moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Yurkoscored on a ground out by Jon Loden.
After a walk to Austin Groves, Miller pitched out of the inning by fanning Brent McGraw. Miller didn't allow a hit through the next three innings but walked two.
In the fifth inning, Centennial's Craig McManus led off with an infield single to third base.
Greg Short, batting ninth in the order, bunted McManus to second.
Yurko doubled deep to left field, scoring McManus. Yurko had a perfect day at the plate, with two walks and a double.
Mount Hebron (3-4, 0-2) threatened in the fifth inning. JimO'Leary led off with a single off Thomas' glove. He went to second on a ground out and to third on a balk. Tony Yanero walked and stole second, giving the Vikings runners at second and third with one out.
But Thomas retired Chris Dotson on a ground out to third base and fanned Mike Carter.
"He had good control and a curve, which we haven't seen too many of this year," said Mount Hebron's star hitter, Baron Gauna. "He kept us on our heels."
Centennial threatened in the sixth inning when Groves walked and Kurt Weitzel singled to right on a perfectly executed hit-and-run.
But relief pitcher Todd Messner fanned pinch-hitter Jason Weinstein, and Weitzel was thrown out trying to steal second.
"Justin's curve makes his fastball more effective," Eagles coach Ron Martin said. "He throws a heavy fastball that tails in on the hitter. And the bottom line is that he throws strikes."
After the game, the Eagles, who got only four hits off Miller, stayed for extra batting practice.
"We've got to start hitting the ball a little better," Martin said.