Lutheran rolls in opener, 11-4

May 24, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Lutheran coach Tom Kolb is a big fan of team efforts. The Saints gave their coach one yesterday.

Especially in the fifth inning.

Every batter in the Lutheran lineup scored in a nine-run fifth inning, and Joel Davis -- who had two hits and two RBIs in that frame himself -- made it stand up with a five-hitter as the Saints defeated visiting Friends, 11-4, in the first game of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship series.

Lutheran (11-5) leads the best-of-three series, 1-0, and can clinch its first title since 1984 tomorrow at Herring Run Park at 3:45 p.m.

The fifth inning quickly turned into a nightmare for Friends (9-7). Fourteen Lutheran batters came to the plate and nine scored. The first nine batters reached, and by the time the Quakers got a batter out, the Saints had scored seven times and gone through three pitchers.

"When we had the opportunity, we really pushed it," said Kolb. "When you have the opportunity, you have to go for it."

And the Saints did. Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, they quickly turned the game around. Davis' single tied it, and Curtis Miller's two-run single gave Lutheran the lead for good.

Matt Langley drove in a run the hard way, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Scott Brown singled in a run, Alex Bickel walked one in, Matt Duggins hit a sacrifice fly, and Jeff Drayer (groundout) and Davis (another single) also knocked in single runs.

"Our hitting has been really good lately," said Davis. "Everyone's been stepping up and hitting really well."

Overall, seven Lutheran players had hits, and seven also knocked in runs. Davis, Miller and Langley led the RBI list with two apiece. Brown and Davis led the hit parade with three apiece.

Lutheran had managed just one single in the first three innings off Friends starter Carter Adkinson. But the right-hander seemed to run out of gas after that.

Trailing 2-0, the Saints smacked five hits in the third to tie the game. And, if shortstop Mike DeLara had not started a slick 6-4-3 double play and later made a great sliding catch in short left, it would have been worse.

Lutheran struggled early, making four errors that led to three Friends runs. But Davis stayed calm. Despite allowing the three runs in the first four innings, he surrendered just two hits -- one a bunt single.

He stayed with a good fastball and curve and occasionally tossed in a knuckler to keep Friends off-balance. The Quakers wound up hitting just five balls out of the infield, and Davis fanned six.

Davis also sparked the Saints with his fielding. The lanky left-hander had seven assists and made several good plays on the mound.

"I think all of my pitches were working really well," said Davis. "I just try to make them think."

DeLara was the lone Friends batter to hit Davis hard. The shortstop went 2-for-3, including the Quakers' lone

RBI, a fifth-inning double that gave the team the brief 3-2 lead.

This series is tough emotionally for both teams. For Lutheran, it is the second straight appearance in the title series. Boys' Latin made quick work of the Saints last year, and Lutheran is looking to do a little better this time.

For Friends, which has played varsity baseball only four years, it is the first appearance in the championship. The Quakers are hoping to do better in Game 2.

"They hit it [in the fifth] to areas where we couldn't handle it," said Friends coach Tom Randall. "They played well. They deserved to beat us, but we'll come back."

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