Atholton Tops Hammond For Third Time This Season, 9-5

Bears Yield Four Runs On Three Errors, Look To Next Year

April 29, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff writer

Brian Van Deusen and Bryan Egolf each rapped three base hits, and Atholton remained unbeaten in league play with a 9-4 triumph over defending county champion Hammond on Monday.

Richard Blankenship (2-1) pitched his second consecutive complete-game victory, a five-hitter. He walked five and struck out five.

The Raiders, (10-3 overall, 7-0 league), benefited from some poorHammond defensive play, scoring two unearned runs in both the first and third innings.

"In our first six games we made 32 errors, but in our last four games we made only four errors," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said. "Today, we made three errors that gave them four runs, andyou can't give away runs to a team like Atholton and expect to win."

Atholton jumped on Hammond starter Jeff Price for five more runs on five hits in the fourth inning, capped by Egolf's three-run homer deep to right field.

It was the third meeting this season between the two teams and the third Atholton victory. The Raiders crushed Hammond, 22-4, at Hammond, and won a 2-1 decision at Atholton during a holiday tourney.

Price also pitched that earlier 2-1 Hammond loss, but the sophomore knuckleballer did not fool Atholton batters as wellthis time around.

"We were more patient against Price today," Atholton coach Kevin Kelly said. "We took six walks and hit some balls hard. We showed signs of breaking out of our recent batting slump."

Atholton, hitting .332 as a team, banged a total of 10 hits -- nine singles and Egolf's homer.

"I thought his (Price's) curve was his most effective pitch," said Van Deusen, who leads the team with a .500 (21-for-42) batting average. Van Deusen has 10 extra-base hits, including eight doubles. He has 14 RBI, a .560 on-base percentage and an.810 slugging percentage.

Atholton lead-off man Brian Hannah, batting .385 with 13 stolen bases in 13 attempts, went hitless but drovein a run with a bunt.

Clean-up batter Billy Mills, batting .371 with a team-leading 16 RBI, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and walked three times.

Center fielder Brian Smith, batting .324, also walked three times.

Blankenship, in addition to his strong pitchingeffort, slapped two base hits in three plate appearances.

Atholton's Brian Gick and Kevin Nickey each had one base hit.

Catcher Curtis Barnard poked a long home run to left for Hammond to lead off thesecond inning. He also walked twice and had an RBI-single in the seventh inning.

Joe Brewer walked twice and doubled for Hammond. Price had a double and a single.

Hammond's Richard Williamson hit a two-run, bases-loaded single with no outs in the fourth inning. That hit pulled the Bears to within one run at 4-3. But with runners at third and first and no outs, they failed to score again that inning.

"We scored five runs, and that should have been enough to win," Maxey said. Hammond, a state Class 2A finalist last season, dropped to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the league.

"We're mostly juniors and sophomores, so we're just hoping to win a few more games this season and then be a strong team next year," Maxey said.

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