Russ throws Atholton into first place Starter stops Centennial on three hits in 4-1 win

April 23, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Chris Russ' emergence as a solid starting pitcher has boosted Atholton's hopes for a county title.

Russ stopped Centennial yesterday on a three-hitter, as the No. 20 Raiders scored a 4-1 victory at Centennial that put them in first place.

Oakland Mills helped out the Raiders yesterday by beating Mount Hebron, 2-1, and knocking the Vikings out of first place.

Russ struck out eight and walked two. "My curve was my best pitch," Russ said. "That's what they were striking out on. My strength as a pitcher is my control."

This was only his second start of the season. He pitched well enough to beat Glenelg last week, but lost 4-3 on three unearned runs.

"I didn't expect to be in the starting rotation this season unless we needed a third starter," Russ said.

Atholton (7-3 overall, 4-1 league) has won all season on outstanding pitching by Scott Sabot and Doug Airel, and now by Russ.

"We were hoping Russ would come along the way he has," Atholton coach Kevin Kelly said.

Atholton scored single runs in the first and second innings off Centennial starter Denny Chapman (0-3), the hardest throwing pitcher in the league.

An RBI single by Sean Williams scored the first run, and a squeeze bunt by Brent Hooper scored the second run.

"The first couple of innings I struggled with my curve," Chapman said.

Chapman struck out six straight batters in the second through the fourth innings -- and nine for the game.

Atholton added two runs in the fifth inning on RBI singles by Jason Sandner and Williams.

Centennial (4-7, 3-3) scored its only run in the third inning on a triple by Woods and a wild pitch.

The Eagles have struggled offensively this season, despite a 21-run outburst last Friday against Oakland Mills.

"We took too many good pitches today," Centennial coach Ron Martin said. "Our batters preferred to take the curveball. Against a left-hander, they should have been jumping on it."

Unlike Chapman, who appeared to tire for Centennial after the fourth inning, Russ seemed to get stronger.

Atholton might have scored more runs, but three runners were thrown out at second base by Centennial catcher Pat Connors on run-and-hit plays.

Kelly thought his team was fortunate to beat Centennial.

"Martin said that Chapman hasn't been pitching well, but he was as awesome as you can get today. He threw well enough to win."

North County 12, Arundel 9: Wayne Feuerherd pitched and batted unranked North County (5-6) to a 12-9 upset of No. 1 Arundel (11-3). Feuerherd gave up seven hits and hit four batters in giving up nine runs, but helped his own cause with three hits and seven RBIs. Mark Williams homered for the Knights.

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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