Atholton falls to Elkton, 6-5, in error-filled title game

May 29, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Atholton had scored 45 runs in three previous playoff games.

But with the Class 2A state title on the line yesterday, the 11th-ranked Raiders scored just five against top-seeded Elkton (17-5) and the Golden Elks won their first state title, 6-5, at Joe Cannon Stadium.

In an error-packed game, third-seeded Atholton (16-8) failed to come up with a big inning despite nine hits, five walks, a hit batter and five Elkton errors. The Raiders stranded at least two base runners in every inning (15 total).

And the Raiders, playing in their first state championship game, suffered several crucial defensive lapses (four errors) that led to five unearned Elkton runs. Four of Atholton's runs also were unearned.

Atholton starting pitcher Shane Beaver (6-1) took his first loss of the season but pitched well enough to win. He allowed six hits, walked three and struck out four.

A single and two errors accounted for a first-inning Elkton run. An error, a single, a double and a sacrifice fly produced two Elkton runs in the second inning.

"I wasn't hitting my spots the first couple of innings," Beaver said. "They came out swinging and didn't let any strikes go by. I got stronger as I went along."

Atholton scored its first run in the bottom of the second on a two-base error, a fielder's choice and Jamie Burford's bunt single.

Atholton left the bases loaded in the third. The Raiders finally scored their second run in the fifth inning on a single by Ryan Schneider and Pete Yoder's two-out double to make it 3-2.

The Raiders tied it with a run in the sixth inning. Jason Sandner singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error.

But Elkton broke the game open with a three-run sixth that started with an error and ended with a two-run single by Jerad Huyett. Elkton would have scored more except for a diving catch by Burford in right field and for Ryan Schneider throwing out a runner trying to steal second base.

Atholton rallied for two runs in the seventh on Burford's one-out single, an error, a walk and a two-run error.

Brandon Eierman's single to left field put Atholton runners at third and first with two outs. Atholton coach Kevin Kelly did not send base runner Billy Hite home from second on Eierman's single, a decision on which he was second-guessed by Elkton's coach, Bill Russell.

The throw to the plate by Huyett turned out to be far off the plate to the first-base side. "I'd have sent the guy home," said Russell.

And Atholton's hopes expired when Ryan Schneider, swinging at the first pitch, grounded out to short.

"The left fielder had the ball before he [Hite] got to third base so I couldn't send him home," Kelly said.

Atholton had a runner thrown out at the plate by Elkton right fielder Pat Mattix in the first inning.

"Atholton was the best team we played all season," Russell said. "They never quit and anyone on their team could have taken it out. We wanted to play the best team, and they had gotten a lot of publicity in our local paper about how many runs they scored and how fast their pitcher threw. But our guys were confident and didn't pay any attention to that stuff."

Kelly said, "You can't come this far and not be disappointed. We hit the ball hard, and it was an exciting game although I'm not sure it was a pretty game."

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