Centennial rallies in 7th to beat Glenelg

March 28, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Centennial likes the last inning. The Eagles have played two games and staged big rallies both times in the seventh inning.

Yesterday's two-run rally won the county opener against eighth-ranked Glenelg, 3-2. The No. 10 Eagles (1-1 overall, 1-0 league) did it with good pitching, good defense and some luck.

"We were certainly a little lucky," Centennial coach Ron Martin said of his team's victory over the defending Class 2A state champion Gladiators (0-1, 0 -1).

The Eagles had just three scratch hits off Glenelg starter Dennis Pagel, who went undefeated (7-0) last season and was nearly untouchable yesterday.

Centennial's winning two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh consisted of a bloop single by Dan Adler over the head of first baseman Paul Marick, a stolen base, an error by Marick, who dropped a throw, another stolen base and a wild pitch that tied the score at 2.

Glenelg coach Ed Ashwell then took out Pagel because the left-hander had reached an 82-pitch limit and brought in right-hander Ben Gugliotta to pitch to John Tokasz with Mike Martin on third.

"I figured he took him [Pagel] out because Gugliotta throws a rising fastball that is tougher to bunt," Ron Martin said.

But Tokasz bunted perfectly, and Martin, who had reached on an error, slid home with the winning run.

"I haven't bunted much," said Tokasz, a junior third baseman. "But I was positive about it. We thought we could still win in the last inning. Pagel had pitched great, but we felt he was tiring, and our team always comes alive in the last inning."

Centennial scored five runs in the last inning against Westminster on Monday, but the defense collapsed and gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning and the Eagles lost, 7-6.

The hard-luck pitcher in that game was left-hander Bill Howley, who threw the final two innings in relief.

Yesterday, Howley's luck was reversed. He pitched seven innings, allowed five hits, two runs, struck out four, walked four and hit a batter. He picked off two runners.

Centennial made just two errors behind Howley, and made a couple of good plays in the seventh inning when he tired.

"I started tiring in the fifth inning and pitched the rest of the way on guts," Howley said. "Our defense played better today and that was obviously the key."

Glenelg's Brent Waskey hit an RBI single in the fifth and David Boteler an RBI double in the sixth to erase Centennial's 1-0 lead.

The Eagles had scored on an RBI infield single by Adler in the third inning.

Howley escaped a base-loaded jam in the sixth by striking out Waskey on a called third strike.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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