After Opening Loss, Resurgent Mustangs Follow '91 Script

April 12, 1992|By Mike Jefferson | Mike Jefferson,Contributing writer

C. Milton Wright baseball coach Jim Miller and his players say they've got a little deja vu.

Last year, the Mustangs lost their seasonopener, but went on to win 14 straight and eventually finish as county champs (18-3).

This year C. Milton Wright, 4-1 and ranked No. 7 in The BaltimoreSun poll, finds itself looking at a similar situation.

After losing their 1992 opener to Fallston, 15-7, the Mustangs have chalked up four straight county wins.

The team's most recent victory came against North Harford (4-2) on Wednesday.

The Hawks hung tough through four innings, but solid performances from the Mustangs on defense and offense made the difference as they pulled away for a 10-3 win.

Mustang starting pitcher Scott Kalista (2-0) also put in an impressive performance, going the distance for the second time this year. Theleft-hander gave up five hits, walked eight and struck out nine.

Sam Powell got the start on the mound for North Harford.

The Mustangs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, as Tom Walsh walkedand reached third on a blown pick-off attempt by Powell.

Jeff Hawk's grounder drove in the first run for the Mustangs.

Kalista gaveup the only earned run for North Harford in the first inning.

TheHawks' Powell doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Bill O'Patterson. The Mustangs went up, 3-1, in the second inning as Johnny Manzari and Brian Taylor scored on errors.

C. Milton Wright scored twomore runs in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead.

But North Harford countered with two runs in the fourth.

Third baseman Chris Mills started the inning off with a single and Matt Machala followed with a double, testing Kalista for the first time.

He walked in two runs before forcing O'Patterson into a groundout to escape the inning.

In the fifth, Powell walked Taylor to start the inning and then gave up a single to Manzari.

Larrimore brought in reliever Scott Smith, who prompted Kalista and Joe Reinhardt to hit into groundouts before walking Joe Zarzycki, Walsh and Hawk.

Taylor and Manzari each scoredonce more to put the Mustangs up, 7-3, before the third reliever, Josh Wessel, ended the inning by getting Brad Fordyce to pop up.

Wessel recorded three strikeouts in two innings' work.

An RBI triple from Fordyce and a solo home run from Taylor in the seventh sealed the win for the Mustangs.

The Hawks committed five errors and left eight men on base. C. Milton Wright had one error and left 13 men stranded.

"We're starting to hit the ball," said Miller, who lost fourpowerful hitting seniors from last year's team to graduation. "We don't beat ourselves defensively. We just took advantage of what they gave us."

Kalista's consistency on the mound was also a big plus for the Mustangs. He kept the base runners off guard with his quick pickoff moves.

Larrimore is trying to avoid a repeat of last year, when his team streaked to a 3-0 record at the start of the season, but then faltered to finish at 4-10.

"Without the mistakes today and the walks, it was a close game," he said.

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