Centennial throws Glenelg a curve

March 24, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Last season Centennial coach Ron Martin thought his All-County pitcher Kurt Weitzel gave up a lot of fly balls.

So Martin never started Weitzel against Glenelg because he feared that the power-hitting Gladiators, who eventually won county and state championships by batting .370 as a team, would hit him hard.

During the winter Martin re-evaluated his thinking and decided that Glenelg was a fastball-hitting team that might have trouble against Weitzel's excellent breaking stuff.

Weitzel made Martin look good yesterday in the league opener, as he pitched an eight-inning five-hitter and the No. 13 Eagles defeated No. 4 Glenelg, 2-1.

Weitzel's curve and slider were both effective. And -- to Martin's surprise -- 15 of Glenelg's 24 outs were on ground balls.

"They were hitting ground balls mostly off of low, inside fastballs," Weitzel said.

Weitzel, after leading off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single, scored the winning run on Kevin O'Connor's sacrifice fly. Dave Hudson had moved Weitzel to third base with a double off of relief pitcher Brian Boteler.

Weitzel appeared to be in midseason form. He threw 62 strikes and 37 balls, walking one and striking out four. He stayed ahead on the count and got errorless support from his defense, led by third baseman Dan Christine with seven assists.

Glenelg used three pitchers. Starter Ray Sullivan went three innings, giving up Centennial's first run in the third inning. It was unearned and scored on a two-base throwing error charged to Boteler and an RBI-single by Brian Dowell. Sullivan pitched well, allowing the one hit, but his teammates made four errors behind him.

All-County left-hander Sean Lookingbill pitched the next four innings for Glenelg and shut Centennial down, allowing two hits and a walk.

But he wasn't ready to pitch beyond that, so Glenelg coach Terry Coleman gave the ball to Boteler for the final inning.

"Dave Hudson and I worked out all winter at Grand Slam [a batting cage in Woodlawn] and that has given us an advantage," Weitzel said.

"Dave went seven innings yesterday and we won, and I went eight today. I was ready to go seven."

Glenelg threatened in the eighth inning on a two-out single by Matt Morraye and an infield single by Kevin Curtin. Weitzel then loaded the bases by walking Boteler. But Mike Goldberg grounded out to Hudson at shortstop to end the game.

Glenelg tied the game in the fourth inning on a single by Boteler, who went to second when the ball was bobbled in right field, and an RBI-double by Goldberg.

Centennial threatened in the sixth on a two-out single by Joe Mellendick and a walk to Curtis Mitchell, but Lookingbill struck out Jeff Windish.

Glenelg lost second baseman Craig Hooker, whose leg was spiked in the third inning as Dowell was thrown out attempting to steal. Hooker, bleeding badly, was taken to a hospital for treatment.

There were several other hard-nosed contact plays.

"We're good friends with Glenelg players off the field, but on the field it's warfare," Weitzel said. "Expect the same next time."

Said Martin, "The season is young. All this does is give us bragging rights for a week."

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