Seven Howard errors help Thomas Johnson escape, 9-7

March 28, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

No one can blame pitcher Cailean Leith for Howard's loss yesterday.

The No. 16 Lions (1-2) made seven errors in a six-inning darkness-shortened game against Thomas Johnson and it allowed the Patriots (3-1), Class 3A state finalists last season, to come away with a 9-7 victory at Howard.

Five of the errors came during Thomas Johnson's six-run fifth inning that finally chased Leith from the mound in favor of Rusty Miller.

"Cailean pitched an outstanding game," Howard coach Matt Forsyth said. "Just terrific. We can hit and we can pitch, but there's a third part to the game. And a lot of times when we make an error it's contagious."

Howard, which made 63 errors last season while posting an 8-12 record, had hoped its defensive woes were history.

"I thought our defense would be improved 100 percent," Forsyth said. "We've had nice weather, and have concentrated on defense almost all the time we've had outdoors."

But the Lions made five errors during a 15-6 loss to Frederick last week, and two during a 7-5 victory over Linganore.

"It just seems like at crucial times we get tight and a lot of guys are telling themselves they hope the ball isn't hit to them," Forsyth said. "But I don't think this is going to be typical of our defense all season. We started off poorly last season defensively, too."

All but two of Thomas Johnson's runs were unearned, including one in the first inning, one of two in the second and five of the six runs in the fifth.

Howard outhit Thomas Johnson, 9-7, but ran into some bad luck that ended two rallies.

Howard's third-inning rally ended with just one run when Brian Glover slipped rounding second base after an RBI single by Miller. A second run would have scored on the play had Glover not been called out trying to return to second base.

"My guy [Glover] said he was never tagged," Forsyth said.

Thomas Johnson shortstop Joe Hammond admitted Glover shouldn't have been called out.

"He was safe. I didn't even come close to tagging him," Hammond said. "If I did I was certainly late."

Howard had another rally prematurely ended in the fifth inning when a liner by A. J. Durham with two on and one out was turned into a double play by Thomas Johnson second baseman Kevin Kendro.

Seven Howard batters had at least one hit with Jim Harris, Frank Tortella and Ryan Malone each getting two. Howard's six RBIs were spread among five players.

Harris, who hit a home run in each of Howard's first two games -- one a 400-foot shot at Linganore -- struck out with two runners on to end the game.

Sophomore left-hander Eric Wyatt (2-0) started and pitched five innings to get the win for Thomas Johnson, whose only loss came against Frederick, 11-1.

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