Kotofski powers Mt. St. Joe in Conley

Gaels down Gibbons, 9-4, for third straight title


April 04, 1999|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

John Kotofski was a combined 5-for-5 with five RBIs in two games, including two doubles and a three-run home run, and earned co-MVP honors for helping host Mount St. Joseph to its third straight title -- its 12th overall -- in yesterday's 16th annual Jack Conley Leadoff tournament.

Kotofski, a catcher, shared honors with first baseman Joe Hargadon, who was 3-for-7 with five RBIs, including two doubles, as the No. 5 Gaels beat Cardinal Gibbons, 9-4, in the title game.

It was the fifth straight win for Mount St. Joseph (6-2).

Shortstop Allen Strick made a strong bid for the MVP honors, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs in the Gaels' title-game victory. In that game, Strick hit a two-run homer, snagged the game-ending liner and lacked only a double for the cycle.

But Kotofski was the most consistent of the trio, going 2-for-2 with three RBIs in a 12-5 semifinal rout of John Carroll. Kotofski has hits in six consecutive at-bats.

"I've gone perfect hitting in a game before when I was younger and the pitcher wasn't that good," said Kotofski. "But this is the first time on the varsity level that I've been hitting this well."

Gibbons (5-5), under first-year coach Lou Holcomb, already has surpassed its win total of last season, when the Crusaders went 4-12. The Crusaders' 13-player roster includes nine sophomores, yet they've beaten defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champ Calvert Hall and Curley this season.

In its 10-4 semifinal win over Glen Burnie (4-2), Gibbons ace Justin King improved to 3-0.

But the Gaels ripped Gibbons starter Craig King for five hits and five runs in the first inning. The Gaels, who batted around, got consecutive hits by Jimmy Dunn, Paul Kern (2-for-3), Strick and Hargadon.

Kern, Strick and Hargadon hit an RBI triple, an RBI double and an RBI single, respectively. Hargadon crossed the plate for a 4-0 lead on a double by Steve Brown (2-for-4), who later scored on Chris Spilker's sacrifice fly to left.

Strick's second-inning, two-run homer made it 7-0, chasing King in favor of Matt Foster. But Foster hit Ben Maggio, the second batter he faced before yielding Kotofski's run-scoring double for an 8-0 lead.

Pub Date: 4/04/99

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