Ever since Zach Collins' Arundel baseball squad defeated Old Mill --a game he left early after getting hammered for several hits -- the junior left-hander hasn't been sleeping well.
Collins' two-hit, 7-1 victory over Severna Park yesterday improved his record to 4-0 and could work wonders for his insomnia. But that Old Mill game is still a lump under his pillow.
"I sleep on Old Mill every night. I fell apart in that game, and I lost a lot of confidence. I felt very, very embarrassed afterward,"said Collins, who fanned nine batters while going the distance yesterday.
With the victory, the Friendship Division-leading Wildcats improve to 10-2 overall and 7-1 against the county 4A league.
Collins was bad news for the visiting Bay Division-leading Falcons (8-2, 6-1), who suffered their first loss against a county opponent.
He rendered ineffective a Falcons' squad that boasted six batters who slug between .424 and .546. Between them, those batters yesterday were acombined 1-for-15 with four strikeouts.
In addition, the Wildcats-- who were coming off a 5-2, five-error loss to Calvert Hall -- hadjust one uncostly error.
Falcons' ace Rob McCandless, meanwhile, suffered his first loss in five starts.
After giving up Shaun Crews' first-inning, two-run double, McCandless recovered well with giving up four hits and just two walks while striking out four. But Severna Park's shaky defense offered little support, falling apart in a four-error, five-run second inning that allowed the Wildcats to build a 7-0 lead.
Severna Park left men stranded on first and third base in the top half of the inning when Mark Stegall flied out to center field for the third out.
"That one inning was the ballgame. We just didn't make the defensive plays, and Rob got a little bit agitated athimself," said Severna Park coach Jim Pitt, whose Falcons survived asimilar outing against Broadneck last Thursday.
"Of course Collins pitched a good ballgame. We don't have any left-handers to hit against in practice, but I thought he just pitched a good game."
Collins set the tone early by striking out the Falcons' first batters, John Novak and Steve Neuberger -- who averaged .429 and .533 coming in -- before inducing Mark Budzinski (.536) to hit a come-backer.
Collins finished the game the same way he started. In the top of the seventh, he got Wes Zimmerman (.500) to fly out to center and struck out Stegall and Nate Sheck.
The Falcons looked confused defensively inthe top of the second, beginning with Alan Baker who bobbled a routine grounder by Arundel's Eric Hontz.
Hontz stole second and went to third one out later on a Chris Durocher single before scoring when third baseman John Milisitz bobbled a Scott Young grounder.
Ahead,3-0, Arundel's A. J. Trout reached on a fielder's choice. Durocher and Young each scored to make it 5-0 when Baker overthrew third base trying to catch Durocher.
Then Young, who reached third on the previous play, crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.
DustyOldfather singled for the Wildcats and pinch-runner Rodney Stevens did the rest, stealing second, taking third on a fielder's choice and scoring on a passed ball.
Trailing, 7-0, Severna Park manufacturedits only run in the third when Novak walked, stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a double steal.