Three mound aces give Lansdowne the hot hand again Weather is only thing slowing Vikings

April 18, 1993|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Contributing Writer

The recent rains have made Randy Musgrove a tad uneasy.

It's not that the Lansdowne senior particularly minds the mud or wet grass. But the way the weather has played havoc with the baseball schedule is almost too much to take.

As one of three senior standouts on the Vikings' pitching staff, Musgrove knows that the more rainouts, the more makeup games will be squeezed into the final month of the season.

And the more games he won't get to pitch while recovering from the previous start.

"It makes me mad," said Musgrove. "We're going to have to use relievers for starters. With four games a week, we can't pitch in every game."

But Musgrove and fellow Lansdowne hurlers Josh Benson and Brian Sullivan also know that April showers can only temporarily slow this trio of pitching powers.

As freshmen, they helped the junior varsity to a 17-0 record and the Baltimore County championship.

Last season, they combined for a 9-3 record, striking out 89 in 74 innings and holding opponents to under two runs per game in leading the Vikings to the Class 3A state title game.

They lost to Thomas Johnson in the final, and the three have

vowed to get the job done this time around.

"I wasn't too upset last year because I didn't expect us to be there in the first place," said Sullivan. "This time, I really want to win it."

So far, they're on the right path.

They've helped Lansdowne to a 2-0 record as the Vikings have outscored opponents, 21-6. Sullivan, a left-hander, struck out eight Catonsville hitters in four innings to pick up one of the wins, and Musgrove stopped Parkville in 1 2/3 innings of relief for the other.

You don't have to remind coach Ron Bareford how fortunate he is to have three consistent pitchers. In leaner years, the 17th-year coach would've been lucky to have even one of the three.

"We've been able to come up with one or two good pitchers before, but this is the first time we've really had three," said Bareford, whose teams have made it to regional playoffs three times. "We really have three legitimate starters when there are other teams struggling to find one."

Benson, a right-hander, has a repertoire that includes an 80-mph fastball, changeup, curve and an occasional slider. Musgrove, a right-hander, and Sullivan are fireballers, relying mainly on fastballs in the mid-80s.

Sullivan says that last year he pitched to a 0.70 ERA and averaged nearly two strikeouts per inning in limited action using mainly his fastball.

Now, he's working to add a third pitch -- a changeup -- to the mix.

"Either one of them could be the ace of the staff," said Lansdowne catcher Rob Parsons. "They all have good control, and make it easy on me behind the plate. I can just sit back there and relax. I don't have to worry."

The worrying is usually left to the other team.

But the three also have proved their worth in the batter's box. Last year, Musgrove led all Baltimore County 4A-3A hitters with a .522 average, and led the team in RBI with 14.

CSullivan, as well, has shown pop in his bat, last year hitting over .400 with two home runs.

Bareford jokingly says he only can find one flaw with the trio.

"They're all seniors," he said.

All three plan to continue pitching in college -- probably at the JuCo level.

One thing is sure. As long as one is on the mound, Lansdowne will have a good chance for a win.

Said Bareford: "At least you know if you get good pitching and pretty solid defense you're going to be in most games."

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