Buck's pitching stops No. 3 North County, 6-1

April 29, 1995|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Severna Park's baseball program never seems to lack for offense, but the Falcons had to upgrade their pitching if they wanted to avoid another early exit from the playoffs.

Coach Jim Pitt didn't have far to look. Senior Peter Buck, a second baseman, would do just fine.

Buck stayed unbeaten yesterday and strengthened No. 14 Severna Park's playoff chances, keeping No. 3 North County off-stride most of the afternoon in a 6-1 victory.

Saying he had everything working, Buck shut out the Knights (10-2) through five innings and finished with a seven-hitter. He walked one and struck out seven.

"He knows how to pitch. We're just delighted with his progress," Pitt said.

Buck allowed consecutive singles to Joe Hizon and Mike Wooden to open the game, then struck out two of the next three batters and got Steve Tomshack to ground to shortstop Scott Vane.

The Falcons (8-4) scored an unearned run in the first off North County starter Tweety Barton. Buck (3-for-4, one RBI) singled with one out and moved to second on an infield hit by Matt Griswold (2-for-4). Jay Zwirlein hit into a force at second, but a poor throw allowed Buck to come home.

The Knights stranded a runner at third in the second inning, and, again, the Falcons made them pay on their next at-bat. Josh Groseclose homered to center for a 2-0 lead, and Buck later singled in Jake Wardell, who had walked and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw.

North County's Mike Wooden (2-for-4) doubled with one out in the third and was stranded. Greg Nesselroad, who reached base three times, doubled off the fence in left with one out in the fourth, but couldn't advance.

"Man, he pitched fantastic. He did what he had to do," said Knights coach Don Usewick.

"We had guys in scoring position early, but that didn't rattle him. He made the big pitches when he had to make them. This is a good hitting ballclub he shut down today."

Buck singled up the middle to lead off the fifth and took third on a double by Griswold. Zwirlein lifted a fly ball to center, scoring Buck for a 4-0 lead.

The Knights loaded the bases with one out in the sixth on singles by Tomshack and Nesselroad and a walk to Barton. Wayne Feuerherd hit into a force at home, but Earl Sewell grounded an RBI single to left.

That was all North County would manage off Buck (4-0). "The hits they had, I left my curveball high," he said.

Scott Neuberger singled in a run in the sixth, and Wardell scored on a delayed double steal.

Barton allowed nine hits and four earned runs. He walked two and struck out three.

When the teams met to open the season, the Knights committed two errors in the top of the first inning and fell behind 3-0. They came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning and eventually won, 4-3, behind Wooden, who allowed two hits and struck out 10.

That began what has been an uneven season for the Falcons, whose longest winning streaks are two games. Meanwhile, North County's only previous loss had come against Glen Burnie, 6-4, on April 19.

"If we don't win today, that gives us five losses, and we're in bad shape," Pitt said. "I'm sure the other clubs [in Class 4A, East Region] appreciate us winning today. It just tightens things up."

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