Essex CC gets to Simms, beats Anne Arundel, 4-3 College baseball

April 09, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Complete games in nine-inning college baseball are exceptional and personally satisfying -- except when you lose.

Anne Arundel Community College left-hander Jim Simms knows the feeling because of one inning he would like to have back.

Simms was outstanding for all but one inning, the second, as defending National Junior College Athletic Association champion Essex Community College (3-0) edged host Anne Arundel, 4-3, in an errorless game yesterday in Arnold.

It was a big win in Essex's quest to return to the National JuCo Tournament in Grand Junction, Colo. The winner of the Region XX postseason tournament later this month at Essex gains a bid to the nationals, and winning the division means top seed in the regional.

Essex and Anne Arundel (9-4) look to be the two powers in the eight-team Division I and will meet again May 2 at Memorial Stadium after a Bowie Baysox game.

"It's always a big win when you beat Anne Arundel because the best baseball in the country is played here in this county," said Essex coach George Henderson, who was named 1992 National Junior College Coach of the Year.

"I have a lot of respect for Clayton [Jacobson, AACC coach], Anne Arundel and like I tell everybody, the kids in Anne Arundel County can play anywhere."

Simms, an Old Mill grad, is an example of what Henderson was talking about. The southpaw gave up 11 hits, but five of them came in succession in the second inning, producing all four Essex runs.

Raul Cabral started the decisive inning with a single to center. Winning pitcher Andy Andrews also singled, putting runners on first andsecond.

Ron Shankle, a graduate of state 3A champion Thomas Johnson in Frederick, hit a shot over the left-center-field fence for an apparent three-run homer. Into a home run trot with his head down, Shankle passed Andrews near shortstop and, when he realized his mistake, tried to sneak back to the end of the line.

Base umpire Dave Ferris was watching. Cabral and Andrews scored, but after Shankle stepped on home plate, Ferris called him out with just two runs counting.

"I've been in baseball 45 years and had never seen that happen," said Henderson, who has been coaching college baseball 14 years and for about 30 years was a key member of the Leones-Johnny's staff.

Essex catcher Dave Zwoyer followed Shankle with a single to center and right fielder Ken Batten promptly homered to the same spot Shankle did. Batten, however, didn't pass anybody and staked Essex to a 4-0 lead.

Simms, who has been battling the flu but didn't use that as an excuse, settled down and struck out his second of nine for the game to get the second out. After giving up his only walk of the game, Simms then struck out the next batter to end the inning.

"I just didn't have good location in the first couple innings," said Simms, who dealt Essex one of its only five losses (39-5) last year on the Knights' journey to the national championship.

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