Mount Hebron surprises Centennial, 9-4

May 20, 1994|By Chuck Acquisto | Chuck Acquisto,Special to The Sun

For the second time this week, Mount Hebron toppled a top-10 team. Yesterday the fourth-seed and visiting Vikings (12-6, 9-5) shocked top-seed and seventh-ranked Centennial (15-4, 12-2) with a 9-4 victory in the Class 3A East region semifinal.

Mount Hebron, having beaten ninth-ranked Atholton on Monday, will play at second-seed City, a 26-12 winner over third-seed Poly yesterday, on Tuesday in the Class 3A East region final.

"We're a good team and we've known it all along," said Mount Hebron rookie coach Eric Aronowsky, whose young team (seven underclassmen) had not beaten Centennial since 1990 and posted a 7-8 record a year ago.

"It's just lately we've gotten the clutch hits like Sara [Eberhart] and Kristen [Milio] did in this game."

Shortstop Eberhart (2-for-4, three RBIs, three runs) delivered the game-breaking blow with a one-out, three-run triple off Centennial junior pitcher Kim May (15-4) in the top of the fourth inning that increased the Vikings' lead to 6-2.

Milio (2-for-4, two RBIs), the Vikings' third baseman, followed with a double to score Eberhart.

"I was just looking to get our leadoff hitter Heather Cole home with a fly ball or something because she's our fastest runner," said Eberhart, Mount Hebron's top run producer this season with 22.

Mount Hebron junior pitcher Jenny Joyce (12-6), who has allowed just 18 walks in 115 innings, surrendered four unearned runs and struck out eight on the way to picking up her first win ever against the Eagles.

Centennial junior shortstop Terri Bickerton had three of the five hits (all singles) off Joyce.

"I was a little wild in the first inning because I wasn't getting my hip into it and the ball was a little wet," said Joyce, who settled down after allowing two first-inning runs to retire 12 of the next 13 Eagles batters.

Having finished the regular season with a modest two-game winning streak, Mount Hebron's postseason confidence began to snowball early yesterday when the Vikings jumped on May for three runs in the top of the first inning.

May's wildness (three walks, hit batter, wild pitch), combined with an RBI single by Milio, had the Eagle pitcher quickly in a hole.

The damage could have been worse. With the bases loaded and two out, Mount Hebron's ninth batter, Heidi Noel, lined a shot that first baseman Megan Morrison -- starting in place of an injured Michelle Dugan (fractured foot) -- was able to spear backhanded.

Centennial came back with two unearned runs off Joyce in its half of the first.

The Vikings scored four runs in the fourth and two insurance runs in the sixth to seal the victory.

"Mount Hebron's a good team, always have been and if we played tomorrow it could be an entirely different result," Centennial coach Dale Huting said.

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