Old Mill, Ziegler repeat last season's March win over top-rated Arundel Patriots make early lead stand up for 4-2 victory

March 25, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

It was as close to a replay as it gets when No. 7-ranked Old Mill used a three-run first inning and the pitching of Mike Ziegler to stop top-ranked Arundel, 4-2, in Gambrills yesterday.

Ziegler spun a six-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk almost to duplicate last year's initial meeting between the two Anne Arundel County powers.

Last year, Ziegler pitched a five-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk for a 3-2 Old Mill (2-0) victory over the Wildcats (1-1) in their March meeting.

Even more oddly, the 6-3, 225-pound Ziegler threw the same number of pitches, 86, yesterday as he did in last year's victory.

"Mike mixed his pitches very well and was effective, no question about it," said Old Mill coach Mel Montgomery. "And I thought our catcher, Steve Reinhardt, did a great job. We thought coming in we had a pretty good chance to win this ballgame. We can play with these guys."

The Patriots staked Ziegler an early 3-0 lead by jumping on Arundel junior lefty Justin Bell, who would settle down and pitch well the rest of the way.

Old Mill center fielder Danny Miller started the game with a single and Chad Gerben followed with a walk. After Bell coaxed Charlie Killmayer into fouling out to catcher Tom Ogilvie, the latter's attempted pickoff throw on Miller went into center field to move both runners up one base with Jon Kelly batting.

Kelly's towering fly ball to right-center field fell for a double. Miller easily scored, but Gerben, thinking that Wildcat center fielder Brian Lane might make the catch (he lost it in the sun) was tagging up and had to stop at third.

Gerben came home on James Ferrell's soft liner for a single into center and Kelly raced home on a ground-out by Doug Bast.

Reinhardt led off the second with a double to left and his courtesy runner, Brandon Whitem, later scored on a two-out double by Gerben to make it 4-0, Old Mill.

Arundel got to Ziegler for two runs in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by first baseman George Lettis and a botched first and third play by the Patriots.

Ziegler escaped further damage by getting leadoff batter Todd Herron to foul out. That was the last time either team scored.

"I actually felt stronger as the game went on," said Ziegler. "I was a little up [with his pitch location] early, but it felt pretty good at the end and the knuckle curve I've been working on was pretty good."

Bell gave up five of his eight hits and all four runs in the first two innings before settling down. The Wildcats southpaw struck out five, two coming in the seventh, the only other inning in which he got into trouble.

"It always feels good to beat them, because you know they're going to be a real good ballclub," said Ziegler. "In about a month they'll be even tougher."

Arundel came back from last year's loss to Old Mill to knock off the Patriots, 8-0 in league play and 5-2 in the 4A East region semis, with Ziegler suffering the loss. The Wildcats then advanced to the 4A state final.

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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