Mt. St. Joe feels right at home with Lead-Off win

April 03, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Sixth-ranked host Mount St. Joseph powered its way to its sixth Lead-Off tournament crown, becoming the first team to win it back-to-back in the tournament's 11-year history.

The Gaels (4-2), last year's private-school state champ, had 19 hits in two games, blanking Glen Burnie, 5-0, for the title. The Gaels scored all their runs after getting six of eight hits in the first inning against Glen Burnie.

Mount St. Joseph beat No. 15 Fallston, 9-4, in a semifinal that was a rematch of last year's tournament title game -- won, 6-2, by the Gaels.

Glen Burnie had 10 hits to stun 11th-ranked, defending 3A state champ Lansdowne (1-1) by 11-5 in the other semifinal. The Gophers, who had one error in the tournament, faced three hurlers from Lansdowne, which led, 2-0, after two innings.

"It didn't surprise me that Glen Burnie beat Lansdowne -- they're always up for this tournament," said 12th-year coach Dave Norton, whose Gaels travel to No. 1 Calvert Hall Tuesday.

"The team knew about the chance to be the first two-time champ. They responded well to the pressure."

Against Glen Burnie (1-1), the Gaels chased hurler Chuck Harris -- who faced 11 batters -- from the mound after he had walked four batters. Jason Sponaugle replaced Harris, retiring 15 of 18 batters, striking out three, yielding two singles and hitting one batter.

The Gaels led, 1-0, after Matt O'Donnell's run-scoring single, and 2-0 after O'Donnell scored on a wild pitch. Ryan McGonigal's single -- which made it 3-0 -- was followed by Pat Bowen's RBI triple and Everett Cooper's run-scoring double.

Gaels' left-hander Tom Ranier was the tournament's MVP after striking out six and scattering seven Glen Burnie hits with no walks.

"I just took the fastball two or three inches off the plate in the inside corner. He [the umpire] was giving it to me," said Ranier. "The curve wasn't working great, but I threw the slider in on their hands once in a while."

Against Fallston, the Gaels got 11 hits from seven different players, led by Ryan Kenealy (4-for-4, one RBI, one double), O'Donnell (two RBIs, one triple) and Eric Jeschke (2-for-3, one RBI, one triple).

Hurler McGonigal (1-0) went five innings, striking out eight, yielding three of the Cougars' five hits and walking seven. He left the mound with a 9-1 lead.

Unranked Glen Burnie overcame a 2-0 deficit to shock Lansdowne, going ahead permanently, 4-2, on Brad Brady's second-inning, two-run home run.

"We're getting the bats on the ball and that's important," said Glen Burnie coach Bruce Sider. "Our problem against St. Joe was inconsistent pitching. We'll have to work that out."

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