Centennial gets past Atholton Tokasz's RBI double lifts Eagles to 3-2 win in ninth

April 08, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Centennial's Denny Chapman won the Eagles' most important game of the season yesterday thanks to a ninth-inning double by John Tokasz.

Chapman (3-0) pitched nine innings, allowed three hits and struck out 15, as No. 16 Centennial rallied for a 3-2 victory against No. 9 Atholton. Both teams had been 4-0 in league play.

It was an impressive performance for Chapman at Atholton in front of his future college pitching coach, Kevin O'Sullivan of Virginia.

"I remembered my sophomore year when I left a game after seven innings against Atholton, and then we lost it in the eighth, so there was no way I was taking myself out of there today," Chapman said. "I had a long rest for spring break."

Although such a performance is almost expected from Chapman, who was throwing a consistent 88 mph as clocked by several pro scouts, the game-winning hit came from someone who has been in a batting slump. Tokasz was batting ninth in the order because of his slump, and had struck out twice earlier in the game against Atholton starting pitcher Chris Russ.

But in the ninth inning, Tokasz faced hard-throwing reliever Sean Williams following a leadoff walk to Matt Eller.

"When I got two strikes on me, I was just looking to protect the plate and got a pitch that tailed inside where I like it," Tokasz said. His inside-out swing drove the ball to the opposite field in right-center and the winning run scored.

Atholton (5-2 overall, 4-1 league) had a chance to tie in the bottom of the ninth inning, after Ryan Lambert blasted a one-out double off the center-field fence -- a ball that would have been a home run on any other county field. But Ryan Schulz popped out to Chapman and Wade Zancan grounded out to first baseman Jamie McDonald.

Atholton had a chance to win in the eighth inning. Chapman struck out the first two batters that inning, but walked the next two, and then hit a batter before retiring Justin DuVall on a groundout.

Atholton scored twice in the fourth inning on a leadoff home run by Williams, a walk, a hit batter and a throwing error. The Raiders led 2-1 heading into the seventh inning.

"We're not playing as well defensively as we think we should be," Williams said. "Chris Russ pitched his heart out today and deserved better."

Pub Date: 4/08/97

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