Hard-hitting Mt. Hebron defeats Hammond, 13-7

April 09, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Mount Hebron looks like a team ready to challenge for the Howard County championship if its pitching holds up.

The Vikings battered hard-hitting Hammond, a team that is nearly intact from a year ago when the Bears lost in the state Class 2A semifinals. Yesterday's final score was 13-7.

Mount Hebron (4-1, 2-0) displayed a balanced offense, with eight of the nine starters getting at least one hit.

Juniors Kevin Woods and Jim Long led the senior-dominated Vikings' 14-hit attack with three hits apiece. Each homered.

Long's was a grand slam off Hammond starter Ross Kaplan and capped a five-run first inning. Mark Jensen had driven in a run earlier in the inning with a single. Long, who has seven hits, is batting .500.

"I'm not really a power hitter, but I lifted weights in the off-season hoping to hit more homers," said Long, who batted .432 for the junior varsity team last season.

Woods, starting his first game this season, hit a two-run homer in a five-run second inning off a Kaplan breaking ball. Both Woods and Long played for the junior varsity last season.

"I didn't know anything about Woods. He looks like a nice hitter," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said. "But both of those home runs would have been outs at Mount Hebron."

Hammond has the shortest fences in the league and is sometimes called the Homerdome.

David Brewer also homered for Hammond during a five-run fifth-inning rally that brought the Bears within three runs at 10-7. Brewer's blast was a two-run shot to center field that followed a three-run double by Aaron Smith, who had three hits.

All of Hammond's runs were scored off Mount Hebron starting pitcher Mike Cudzilo, who completed five innings and gave up five hits. The senior right-hander (2-0) allowed only one walk and one hit through the first four innings in his first start.

The Vikings received an effective relief effort from junior left-hander Billy Blair, who allowed only one hit in two innings. Blair made his first appearance this season and is ready to become his team's closer, a role that Cudzilo had been performing.

Mount Hebron and Hammond are both strong defensive teams and each made just one error. Maxey is concerned a bit about Hammond's playoff chances because it is now 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the league.

The Bears lack a hard-throwing pitcher who can produce strikeouts.

"That puts more pressure on our defense which has to field 17 or 18 balls per game. Some other teams are getting 10 strikeouts from their pitchers," Maxey said.

"We scored seven runs today and that should be enough," he said. "We hit six balls on the button today that were outs, and if they had fallen in who knows what the score would have been."

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