North County's Wooden too much for Chesapeake

April 19, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

When a pitcher has the kind of bite on his curve ball that North County's Mike Wooden did yesterday in Linthicum and is getting it over, he's pretty tough to beat.

Make that real tough.

Wooden (2-1) pitched a four-hitter, striking out 14, and did not walk a batter in a 3-1 victory over No. 12 Chesapeake (4-3).

Tenth-ranked North County (5-2) gave Wooden all the support he needed in the second inning when Dave Saffield followed Tweety Barton's double with a line-shot homer over the left-field fence.

The junior right-hander threw only 86 pitches, struck out the side in the first, third and fifth innings and struck out everyone in the Cougars' starting lineup at least once.

Chesapeake had two base runners only once, in the sixth when Derek Blood and Jason White reached on singles with two outs, but spoiled Wooden's shutout with an unearned run in the seventh.

"A win is more important than a shutout. Shutouts are nice, but getting that 'W' is the main thing," said Wooden, who is pitching his third year of varsity baseball for the Knights.

Center fielder Brian Doyle had two of the four hits off Wooden, a single to center in the second and a looping double down the right-field line to start the seventh. The ball was misplayed on the relay, allowing Doyle to take third from where he scored on Rob Redmond's sacrifice fly to right.

"He [Wooden] was just outstanding, had his curve ball working and kept us off balance," said Chesapeake coach Jim Simms.

"We didn't hit the ball well and most of that has to be attributed to the way Wooden threw."

Wooden's over-the-top breaking pitch came from the same release area as his fast ball and froze more than one Cougar with six of them looking at strike three.

"It was definitely the best curve I've had this year, overall from the first to the last inning," said Wooden.

"My velocity was up and Dave's homer took all the pressure off me."

Saffield's homer came off losing junior lefthander Derek Blood, who pitched well in defeat. Blood worked five innings of five-hit ball, striking out four and walking only one.

"We might have found ourselves a good little pitcher," said Simms, who lost his No. 2 pitcher in senior Jeremy Pellegrini indefinitely to an elbow injury. Pellegrini is undergoing therapy.

"Derek is up from the JV and mixed his pitches well today. He made only two bad pitches."

Simms was referring to Blood's home-run ball to Saffield in the second and a run-scoring double by the Knights' Steve Tomshack in the fifth. John Bermudez, nursing a sprained foot, doubled in front of Tomshack and pinch runner Scott Hughan scored the run.

The Saffield home run, his second of the season, was the big blow especially with the way Wooden was throwing.

"It was a fast ball where I like it [slightly off the middle] and I just tried to hit it somewhere," said Saffield, whose twin brother Mike was Wooden's batterymate.

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