Hammond puts on the squeeze, takes win over No. 9 Centennial

April 03, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

In its league opener yesterday, Hammond did what it couldn't do all last season. It beat a contender.

In fact, the Bears beat the ninth-ranked team in the Baltimore metro area, Centennial, 7-4. The loss dropped the Eagles' record to 1-2.

Hammond (1-0) won it with bunts, defense and relief pitching. The Bears scored three times on bunts -- two of them suicide squeezes.

One of those run-scoring bunts, by Brian Pietryka, came in the three-run third inning after the Bears loaded the bases and had scored once on a hit batter (Shelly Singh) and once on a walk to James McDonald.

Those three runs put the Bears ahead to stay, 5-3.

Hammond also scored twice in the second inning on a single by Karl Friedheim and three wild pitches, two walks and then a suicide squeeze by Joe Norsworthy, Hammond's lead-off hitter who had two bunt singles for RBIs. His second one came in the fifth inning after a double by McDonald and a passed ball.

Norsworthy made Hammond's only error on a hard shot by Mike Martin in the seventh inning.

Martin scored on a single by Brian Gallagher, but the Eagles left two men stranded.

"We have to do it in the field, because we don't have a pitcher that's going to strike out 10 batters," Hammond coach Bob Maxey said.

Jose Busquets relieved starter Mike Amaral and pitched 4 1/3 innings to earn his first win. Busquets retired the first seven batters he faced and didn't strike out or walk a batter.

"My best pitch was a slider," said the 6-foot-2, 175-pound junior.

Centennial's three pitchers, Adams Chambers, Bill Howley and Denny Chapman, all were unsuccessful. They combined to allow nine hits, four walks and they hit three batters.

Three Bears had two hits each, Norsworthy, James Gregory and Eric Oetting. Everyone in Hammond's lineup reached base at least once.

Base-running mistakes also cost Centennial. Twice, the Eagles had runners thrown out at the plate in a two-run third inning, and once at second base when Chambers tried to stretch a lead-off, sixth-inning single into a double.

"We ran ourselves out of a potential big inning and Hammond made the plays defensively," Centennial coach Ron Martin said. "Their third baseman [Norsworthy] made a couple of key plays."

Chambers was the only Centennial player with two hits.

"We're happy we played Centennial early in the season because they are a better team than they showed today," Maxey said. "We got timely hits, successful bunts and avoided a big inning."

Pub Date: 4/02/96

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