Glenelg wins in 8th, 4-3, without hit Gladiators top Hammond in controversy-filled game


May 15, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

In a controversy-filled, quarterfinal Class 1A South playoff game, county champion Glenelg rallied to defeat Hammond in extra innings yesterday, 4-3. The win was Glenelg's fourth over Hammond this season.

The No. 4-ranked Gladiators scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a wild pitch by Hammond starter Ken Beck, who had loaded the bases with three walks.

The Gladiators play Oakland Mills today in a regional semifinal.

Glenelg starter Jeff Starcher, who allowed six hits and struck out 13 batters, and Beck both pitched masterful games. Beck allowed five hits.

Glenelg (18-2) didn't tie the game until the bottom of the seventh on a single by Jeremy Shry off Beck's glove, a bloop single by Jason Weszka, a sacrifice fly by Brandon Robertson, and an RBI ground-out by Starcher.

The Bears (9-9) jumped on top, 2-0, in the first inning on two Glenelg errors, and singles by Brian Pietryka and Jason Maxey. Brian Brewer, who later had two hits, struck out into a double play to end that inning.

Glenelg scored twice in the bottom of the first inning on the game's most controversial play -- a two-out, two-run home run by Dave Harris.

Hammond left fielder Austin Smith raced back, leaped and appeared to make the catch but fell through a flexible fence. The home plate umpire ruled the hit a home run, saying that the fielder had left the field before he made the catch.

"The rule says that if you catch the ball while going over the fence, then it's an out," Smith said. "The field umpire said it was a catch, but he said it was the home plate umpire's call. This was not a fun way to go out."

Glenelg coach Tom Thrasher said he thought it was a home run.

"I thought he trampled the fence and then caught the ball. I don't think you are in the park if you trample the fence," he said.

Hammond scored a go-ahead run in the top of the second inning on three walks and Pietryka's RBI single. On the play, center fielder Brandon Robertson saved a run by throwing out a Hammond runner at the plate. Weszka, Glenelg's catcher, saved another possible run that inning with a block of a pitch 3 feet outside and in the dirt.

A Hammond suicide-squeeze bunt backfired in the third inning when the ball rolled only 2 feet in front of the plate and Weszka tagged out the sliding runner.

Harris led off Glenelg's sixth inning with a double, reached third base on an error but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch that precipitated another controversial call.

"He was never tagged," Thrasher said. "He slid past the plate without touching it, but then went back and touched it without getting tagged."

Pub Date: 5/15/98

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