Perry's Hall's Shepherd goes distance to top Lansdowne No. 5-ranked Gators beat error-prone Vikings, 4-1

March 25, 1997|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If there's one thing that all area high school baseball coaches agree upon, it's that there never seems to be enough practice time during the pre-season.

Yesterday at Perry Hall, No. 18-ranked Lansdowne found out first-hand what a soggy spring can mean to a ballclub.

The Vikings -- who have been able to use their field just three times due to poor drainage -- looked erratic, making a handful of key mental and physical errors that cost them in a 4-1 season-opening defeat to the fifth-ranked Gators.

"Three days of practice on the field and you've got to come out and play a game against a tough team -- it's almost impossible," said Lansdowne coach Dave Wright.

Making the task even more difficult was the performance of Perry Hall starter Jim Shepherd. The senior southpaw went the distance, using an assortment of fastballs and curves to strike out seven while allowing six hits.

Shepherd said he was pleasantly surprised that coach Larry Butts allowed him to finish what he started.

"I was hoping to [go the distance]," said Shepherd (1-0), "but since it's only the first game of the season, and I really haven't thrown that many innings yet, I wasn't sure."

The big blow for Perry Hall (1-0) came in the second, when right fielder Joe Stefanoni sent Tim Harrison's fastball into the trees in left for a two-run home run, giving the Gators all the offense they would need.

It was a majestic shot that looked like a routine fly before getting into the wind. "I thought it was a pop-up at first," said Stefanoni.

Perry Hall added one more run in the third, when Brad Wiseman tripled to the gap in right center and came home on a throwing error, and another in the fourth.

Lansdowne (0-1) then blew its best opportunity for a rally with poor base running.

With one out in the firth, the Vikings put runners on first and second, and had a chance to load the bases when Scott Taylor's grounder was mishandled by shortstop Mike Stambaugh. But lead runner Don Colvin forgot there was a runner behind him and stayed at second.

Stambaugh picked up the ball and threw to third for the force, essentially killing the rally.

"These are things that you just can't do and expect to win," said Wright. "This is going to be a good team eventually. It's just going to take them time."

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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