Gophers Ride Freshman's Arm To Victory

Sponaugle's Eight-hitter Downs Spalding, 10-3

April 01, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff writer

Yet another freshman does the job for Glen Burnie High.

In yesterday's 10-3 baseball victory over previously unbeaten Archbishop Spalding, the Gophers' Jay Sponaugle wore the look of a veteran, calmly going the distance and scattering eight hits with his three-pitch arsenal.

The win, which improved the Gophers to 1-1 and dropped the Cavaliers to 3-1, came just one day after fledgling windmiller Samantha Miller hurled the Gophers' softball team to a one-hit, 8-0 victory over Severna Park.

"This was a much-improved performance over yesterday," said 12th-year Glen Burnie coach Bruce Sider, referring to the Gophers' season-opening 6-5 setback to last year's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference tournament runner-up Archbishop Curley.

"We were swinging the bat well and had some nice catches in the outfield," said Sider. "But the brightest spot was Sponaugle getting out there and staying focused enough to show that he could do the job as a freshman."

Sponaugle had given up just two hits and had a 9-0 lead until the Cavaliers got Brian Barth's RBI single in the bottom of thefourth to make it 9-1.

Glen Burnie already had laid waste to Sponaugle's counterpart, Cavalier senior pitcher John Hall, whose 90 pitches was more than twice the number thrown by Sponaugle (106 pitches overall) in the four innings they'd pitched.

Hall was rocked for seven hits with eight walks and yielded seven stolen bases, and second-year coach Tom Lind removed him after Mike Mahaney (2-for-2, with a walk) blasted his one-out, two-run homer over the left-field fence.

Edgar Right replaced Hall and promptly yielded a David Lanham triple, followed shortly by Tony Saunders' run-scoring single for a 10-1 lead.

Brian Campbell slapped a two-run single in the sixth inning for the Cavaliers, who already have surpassed the win total in last year's 2-12 campaign.

"They handled us early, and (Hall) was just getting wild," said Lind, whose Cavaliers' victories included an 11-6 win over last year's Class 2A state runner-up Hammond.

"They stole bases on us like crazy, and we never got back in the game."

Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the second, the Cavaliers blew an early chanceto make things respectable.

With no outs and one man on, Glen Burnie center fielder Jerry Poist reached high to grab Gary Hnyla's deepshot, and the next batter, Brian Barth, hit into a double play involving Shannon Cavey, Lanham and Mahaney.

"I have to give a lot of credit to the defense," said Sponaugle, who worked the plate with a fastball, a split and a curve. "They gave me a lot of support, and theycame through with the big sticks, too."

The Gophers produced their first two runs on smart base running by Poist and Mahaney in the first and second innings, respectively. Poist walked, stole second and scored on a fielder's choice, and Mahaney singled, stole second, tookthird on a fielder's choice and scored on a passed ball.

Consecutive singles by Poist and Lanham (2-for-2, two walks) gave the Gophersa 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second.

Any chances of a comeback were all but completely erased in the top of the third, asthe Gophers -- who went hitless in the inning -- capitalized on fourwalks, three steals and two errors to take a 7-0 lead.

"The Curley game was a real disappointment," said Mahaney, who crossed the plate three times. "We knew we were a good team, but we needed this game to prove ourselves."

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