While Archbishop Spalding center fielder John Hall sized up Archbishop Curley's starting hurler, Jay Eyster, Cavalier coach Tom Lind appraised the conditions of the Friars' infield.
"(Eyster) played withme on the Oriolelanders last fall -- not much speed, but he's got a great curveball," said Hall of the Friars' left-hander, before the start of yesterday's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference clash.
"That (lumpy) infield could really hurt us," said Lind, concernedfor his Cavaliers, who averaged 3.3 errors in their eight previous games.
But by the sixth inning of the Cavaliers' 10-4 victory, it was apparent that neither coach nor player had much cause for worry.
The Cavaliers (7-2 overall, 4-1 in the conference) already had capitalized on five of eight errors by the Friars (5-3, 2-3) and hammeredEyster (two strikeouts, one walk) for six hits and a 6-2 lead when he was replaced by Joe Christi.
And Christi barely had stepped ontothe mound before the Cavaliers treated him roughly, turning the gameinto a 10-2 rout.
The Cavaliers' Pat Calabrese raised his RBI total to 10 on the year with his two-run double, followed by consecutiverun-scoring singles from Jeff Paxson (a team-leading 15 RBI) and Gary Hnyla (11 RBI).
Mickey Wist's seventh-inning miscue was the Cavaliers' only error, so for the first time, Lind found it nice to be onthe leaner side of an error-filled game.
"This was what I wanted to see. I wanted us to put together a couple of nice games where we hit the ball well and didn't make a lot of mistakes," said Lind.
Ingoing the distance, Paxson (5-0, 40 strikeouts) struck out 10 batters while giving up just two hits -- both doubles to Ronnie Hartman. And while he walked nine, four of those came against the first batters he met in the bottom of the first.
The Cavaliers had taken a 1-0 lead after Wist singled, reached second on an error, took third on a fielder's choice out and scored on a double steal. But Paxson walked in the tying run and the second crossed the plate on Chris Schwoy's bases-loaded sacrifice fly to make it 2-1 Curley.
"I wasn't getting (the ball) there at first, but then I started going with the fastballand they weren't hitting it," said Paxson, who leads the team with seven doubles. "I didn't have to throw a curve after the third inning."
The Cavaliers went ahead permanently, 4-2, in the fourth, on a Brian Barth single, shortstop Hartman's error of a Brian Campbell grounder, and a fielder's choice shot from Chris Lucas, which scored Fabian Dilamey -- who had singled -- from third. Paxson's fifth-inning double made it 5-2, and he scored on Barth's infield single.
Curley got its third run on Dave Deares' seventh-inning, bases-loaded fielder's choice, followed by its final run on Ronnie Hartman's run-scoringdouble.
The Cavaliers, who entered the game in a three-way tie for first with defending champion Calvert Hall, Mount St. Joseph and McDonogh, play host to Mount St. Joseph in Joe Cannon Stadium tomorrow night.
The question remains, however, which Spalding squad will show up -- the one that defeated Curley, last season's MSA runner-up toCalvert Hall, yesterday, or the one that committed seven errors in a16-9 loss to Calvert Hall.
"I booted three or four balls against Calvert Hall, so we know we're not good enough to look past anybody,"said Calabrese, a senior. "But everyone -- including the media -- looks past us. We like it that way."