Atholton outlasts Hammond for 4-3 win in 10 innings

April 03, 1994|By Chuck Aquisto | Chuck Aquisto,Special to The Sun

A majority of Atholton's players hung around their dugout long after surviving a 4-3 win over visiting Hammond in 10 innings in the Atholton Spring Tournament championship game.

A trio of Atholton seniors surprised Coach Kevin Kelly with a Gatorade shower and a promise to him it was just the first of three for the season, with future splashes reserved for a county title and state championship.

"We got some great pitching today with Spike Altman going four strong innings and then Jonathan Edwards coming in at the end to close it out and pick up the win," Kelly said. "I also thought their last pitcher threw real well and it was a real shame somebody had to lose."

Fittingly for a game with little offense (combined 13 hits), Atholton (3-0, 1-0) won in the bottom of the 10th inning when Hammond junior reliever Aaron Smith walked Atholton junior Jamie Burford with the bases loaded and one out to force in Derreck Schneider (2-for-4, RBI) with the winning run.

"I don't know if it is the county's strong pitching so much as it is a lack of timely hitting right now by our team," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said. "We have some guys who have the potential who aren't getting the job done at the plate right now. We had 13 runners on second base and only scored three. We have to do a little better than that in order to hang with the big boys in this county, which we can do."

Atholton's early-season slugger has been junior Brandan Eiserman, who has filled in nicely for sidelined catcher Ryan Schneider. Eiserman belted his second home run of the season in the first inning, with Jason Sanders on base.

Eiserman later just missed a game-winning homer in the bottom of ninth as his deep fly to center was tracked down by Golden Bear center fielder Andrew Jenkins.

Hammond (1-3) scored two runs in the second as Matt Nestor produced an RBI with a bases-loaded walk to score Golden Bear junior Chad Weiner. Hammond junior Justin Lavis later crossed home plate on an infield error to tie the game.

In the top of the 10th, Eiserman made a sliding, running catch of a foul ball near the Raider dugout. Edwards, winner of two games in three days, topped his battery mate's spectacular play two pitches later. Hammond hitter Brian Mulvhill lined a hard-hit grounder up the middle. Having fallen down to the ground, Edwards managed to reach back behind his body, bare-handed the baseball, get up and throw out Mulvhill for the inning's final out.

"Spike and Jon did a great job of hitting the spots, moving the ball around and just keeping the Hammond hitters off balance at the plate," Eiserman said.

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