Overlea rolls past Catonsville

May 17, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Visiting Catonsville, an earlier 12-5 loser to Overlea in baseball, stood in the Falcons' path again yesterday, but the Comets ended up with a similar result -- a 10-2 loss.

The Falcons, who won a school-record 13th straight time, had 10 hits against three different pitchers, including a double, two triples and a home run.

Junior pitcher Frank Merson, who has two no-hitters this season, improved to 5-1 after yielding two hits against four strikeouts and three walks over three innings.

His reliever, 6-foot-2, 210-pound ace John Kopajtic (7-0, 1.30 ERA), walked four with three each in strikeouts and hits in a victory that secured the Falcons' place in the record book as the county's 1A-2A champ.

The win also solidified Overlea's top seed in this weekend's 2A North playoffs, and further jeopardized the Comets' already shaky hopes of reaching the postseason.

There's no question Overlea has a quality program; the only question the Falcons have is why they aren't considered one of the area's top 20 teams.

"We feel cheated," said outfielder K. C. Cowan. "We feel we've earned it and we want is to be ranked."

Overlea certainly has the ingredients: strong defense (it had no errors yesterday) and pitching, behind Kopajtic, who has 48 strikeouts in 46 innings and leads the Falcons in nearly every way.

Kopajtic ranks first or is tied for the lead in hits (32), batting average (.564), RBIs (33), runs scored (22), doubles (six) and triples (three).

"We just want to keep our heads on straight and get into the playoffs," said Kopajtic. "It seems like everything's just rolling along for us."

Senior shortstop Craig Schoepflin, whose batting average (.558) ranks second on the team, got things started yesterday with a third-inning two-run home run -- his team-leading second of the year -- to break a 1-1 tie.

Cowan followed with a triple. Mike Tirschman, who ranks third with a .438 batting average, laid down a squeeze bunt to score Cowan for a 4-1 lead. It was the 20th run scored for Cowan, who ranks third behind Tirschman (21 runs) in that category, and the 25th RBI for Tirschman -- second best for the Falcons.

"This year, everyone's playing solid ball, so the hitting is consecutive where last year, it was just here and there," said Schoepflin, who ranks fourth with 19 runs scored. "Every one's hitting this year -- it's contagious."

That seemed to be the case in the Falcons' five-hit, five-run fifth inning as nine batters reached the plate.

Tim Phillips singled, John Brazier walked and Schoepflin was walked intentionally after going 2-for-2 with a home run. Then Cowan singled home his ninth RBI to make it 5-1.

Brazier, a .381 batter with two doubles, was picked off first base, but Tirschman loaded the bases again with a single. Schoepflin made it 6-1 after scoring on a passed ball, Kopajtic's two-run triple made it 8-1, and Brandon Van Hoose's sixth double of the year was good for his 22nd RBI and a 9-1 lead.

Van Hoose, a .373 batter, is tied with Kopajtic in doubles and ranks third in RBI.

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