Atholton bats boom in opening win Bottom of order sparks 13-5 romp over Glenelg

March 22, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Atholton coach Kevin Kelly's hitting worries appear to be over.

Justin DuVall, starting his first game and batting eighth in the order, slammed a home run, a triple, a single and drove in four runs. Also, No. 9 hitter Ryan Lambert hit two home runs and had four RBIs in yesterday's season opener.

The eighth-ranked Raiders' power surge included another home run by Sean Williams against No. 17 Glenelg in a Atholton 13-5 victory at Glenelg.

Kelly, whose team was a state finalist a year ago, expected his pitching to be strong, but had doubts about scoring. He need wonder no longer.

"I wasn't expecting this," Kelly said. "I wondered if we'd hit any home runs this season. It's nice to see the bottom of the order produce."

Atholton (1-0) and Glenelg (0-1) traditionally dominate Howard County baseball. Between them, they have won 11 of the last 14 county titles. But if experience is any indication, the odds are definitely in the Raiders' favor. Atholton started eight seniors, and Glenelg, a state semifinalist last season, started two seniors, four sophomores and three juniors.

"We made too many physical errors, and you expect that of a young team," Glenelg coach Tom Thrasher said. "You can correct that. We have a scrappy team, and I'm happy with how we fought back."

Glenelg closed the gap to 8-5 in the sixth inning before a five-run Atholton seventh put it out of reach. Six Glenelg errors made six of Atholton's 13 runs unearned.

Glenelg starting pitcher Dan Kudziel threw five respectable innings, allowing four hits, one walk and six runs, four earned.

"I played with him on the Dayton Raiders, and he has a strong arm," DuVall said of Kudziel. "We had everything just come together today. I felt confident at the plate."

Kelly was elated with DuVall's performance. DuVall rode the bench last season, batting only five times. "I think I've found my designated hitter. I can't take that bat out of the lineup after today," Kelly said.

Kelly wasn't totally surprised by Lambert's performance. He brought Lambert up for the last six games last season and watched him bat .400.

Pub Date: 3/22/97

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