Harford CC gets win to shout about Baseball team upsets Essex CC

April 25, 1993|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

As upsets go, it doesn't rank with the Joe Namath-led New York Jets' win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in 1969 -- but for Harford Community College it is considered one of the biggest in school history.

Last Tuesday evening, the Fighting Owls baseball team, which hasn't had a winning season since 1986, defeated defending national champion Essex Community College, 8-5, at Thomas Run Park.

Immediately after the game-ending double play, Harford players converged on the middle of the infield while shouting and hugging each other with the intensity usually reserved for

championship celebrations.

Off the field, a dozen or more chilled but enthusiastic fans were slapping high-fives and the school's usually placid athletic director, Jack Nichols, was whooping it up and shaking hands with everyone within arm's reach.

Head coach Danny Vest allowed his players several minutes to release their emotions before summoning them all to the outfield grass just behind third base.

He congratulated them on what they had just accomplished, told them how happy he was for them and then told them to get a good night's sleep because the next day a doubleheader against Dundalk Community College was on the schedule.

The Owls took control of the Essex game early, scoring four runs in each of the first two innings on only one extra-base hit, a home run by second baseman Kevin Diaz.

Harford right-hander Jeff Lipira pitched well into the sixth inning before giving way to left-handed reliever Scott Kalista, who pitched three scoreless innings.

Double plays snuffed out potential Essex rallies in the eighth and ninth innings. After giving up a leadoff single in the eighth, Kalista enticed former C. Milton Wright outfielder Kenny Batten to hit into a short-to-second-to-first double play. Diaz's relay throw to first baseman Paul Danielle nipped Batten, a fast runner, by a half-step.

What makes the victory more significant is the fact that Harford accomplished the feat with a preponderence of home-grown talent -- something the Essex coach long has contended could never be done.

Harford's lineup consisted of shortstop Timmy Miller (Joppatowne), outfielder Jeff Hawk (C. Milton Wright), outfielder Paul Stromberger (Fallston), designated hitter Craig Carpenter (Bel Air), first baseman Paul Danielle (Bel Air), catcher Chris Gaeng (Bel Air), second baseman Kevin Diaz (North Harford), pitcher Jeff Lipira (Fallston) and pitcher Scott Kalista (C. M. Wright).

Outfielder Chris Lammon lives in the county but played at Calvert Hall while third baseman Brett Kintz (Towson) was the lone non-countian who played.

By the way, the team dropped the doubleheader to Dundalk on Wednesday but already has won eight games -- the most since 1986.

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