Curley defeats St. Joe, gains championship MSA A baseball

May 23, 1991|By Sam Davis

In yesterday's editions, a Mount St. Joseph baseball playe who misplayed a line drive was identified incorrectly as Knoll Axt. Bob Neighoff was the right fielder who committed the error.

The Sun regrets the error.

Archbishop Curley's James Libber just wouldn't give in to Mount St. Joseph. Not on the mound and not in the outfield.

For 6 1/3 innings, the senior left-hander contained the Gaels' solid offense. After he was relieved, he made two game-saving catches in center field, as Curley held off the host Gaels, 5-3, to advance to today's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference Tournament championship game.


Curley will meet Calvert Hall, which had the day off yesterday after compiling a 2-0 record in the first two days of the double-elimination tournament with wins over Curley and Mount St. Joseph.

Curley's win yesterday gave the Friars a 2-1 record in the tournament. Mount St. Joseph, the conference regular-season champ, dropped out of the running at 1-2.

The Friars have to beat Calvert Hall, the three-time defending champions, today and Friday to win the title. A Calvert Hall win today gives the Cardinals the title.

Curley (20-5) beat Calvert Hall (24-8) in both regular-season meetings but lost to the Cardinals, 3-2, in Monday's first-round tournament game.

Libber, who hadn't pitched in a month after straining his arm playing the outfield, kept the Gaels off balance with a steady diet of fastballs, curveballs and changeups.

"I hadn't pitched for a while, and that made me more hungry," said Libber (3-1).

Mount St. Joseph (20-5) managed five hits off Libber and hit several other shots, but Curley played solid defense. The Gaels managed just one extra-base hit off Libber, a bases-empty home run in the fourth inning by Jeff Mengel that left the Gaels trailing, 5-1.

"I have to give credit to the defense," said Libber. "They made the plays when they had to."

But it was Libber who made the two biggest defensive plays. After he began the bottom of the seventh with a walk, Curley coach Al Frank quickly called on ace Brian Bowen.

Bowen got what he wanted from the first batter he faced when Rick Braitsch grounded to third, but Ron Hartman's throw to second sailed into right field, putting runners at first and second. Bob Bush followed with a drive to right-center that Libber caught in stride, allowing only one run to score.

After Ryan Clark grounded out to Bowen, Knoll Axt followed with a single to center. Brian Dunn followed with another shot to right-center on which Libber made a diving catch.

Left-hander Eric Hall pitched a complete game for Mount St. Joseph, allowing 10 hits, four for extra bases.

Three of the extra-base hits came in the third, when the Friars took a 3-0 lead on back-to-back doubles by Jamal Davis and Joe Petryszak and a two-run home run by Bowen, his fifth of the season.

The Friars added two more in the fourth, when Davis hit a `D two-out line drive to right that Axt misplayed. Jeremy Parr and Libber, who had reached on walks, both scored.

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