Arundel stops the losses, wins 6-1

One-hitter, 3 homers sink N. County after 2 upsets

Baseball

April 15, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

There's nothing quite like excellent pitching and the home run to make a slumping team well.

After two stunning losses to unranked teams in two days, top-ranked Arundel (6-4) played up to its billing in a 6-1 victory over North County (4-6) in Gambrills yesterday.

Desperately needing a victory after 5-4 and 2-1 losses to Meade and Chesapeake, respectively, the Wildcats got a combined one-hitter from Dave Stallings and Star Kriger, as well as three bases-empty homers, two by shortstop John McCurdy.

FOR THE RECORD - A photo caption in yesterday's Anne Arundel County edition incorrectly identified an Arundel High player diving to catch a foul pop-up. First baseman Josh O'Dell was the player.
The Sun regrets the error.
Pub Date: 4/16/99

McCurdy, who is headed to the University of Maryland, was 3-for-4 with the two homers, a double and three RBIs. Jeff Lloyd belted the other homer to cap Arundel's scoring in the sixth.

"The problem has been two things," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter, whose Wildcats are 1-3 in one-run games.

"First of all, we've been striking out too much -- way too much. Secondly, we have not been playing sound defense -- not aggressive and not catching fly balls, allowing people to get runs they shouldn't have. But we played very well defensively today."

An error opened the flood gates in Monday's loss to Meade, which rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh, and on Tuesday, two errors and a couple misplayed balls led to the loss to Chesapeake.

The Wildcats committed only one error yesterday, which did lead to a run. But this time, Arundel had both clutch hitting and pitching.

"Our pitching has been good all season," said Walter. "We've got four or five guys who can pitch. Our biggest problem is getting them enough innings."

After North County's Chuck Willis led off the game with a single to right, the Knights got no other hits off Stallings and Kriger. Stallings pitched the first five innings for the win, striking out seven and walking four.

Kriger, a left-hander, retired all six batters he faced, striking out two. The duo sat down the last 10 batters.

"We caught them at a time when their backs were against the wall, after two losses, and I thought pitching was the difference," said North County coach Don Usewick.

"Our bats had been really good up till today. Besides our first game of the season, this is the first time anyone has really shut us down. We had been scoring a lot of runs."

In their three previous games, the Knights won by 11-4 over No. 18 Annapolis and lost, 15-8, to No. 10 Old Mill and, 13-9, to fourth-ranked Severna Park, banging 32 hits in the process.

North County got a decent outing yesterday from senior right-hander Joe Wood, who scattered 11 hits and the six runs.

Sophomore Chip Ziegler, who has pitched and played some first base, started in center field and drilled a triple into the alley in right-center and came home on a sacrifice fly by Norris Roy for a 1-0 Arundel lead.

McCurdy led off the second with a homer and doubled in Ziegler, who had walked and stolen second in the third.

With two gone in the bottom of the fifth, McCurdy delivered his second homer to right-center. Kevin Brooks followed with a single and raced home on Josh O'Dell's second hit of the game, a double.

McCurdy just missed a grand slam in the sixth, but Knights center fielder Chris Penny tracked his big fly in deep right-center to end the inning. Lloyd had homered with one out for the last Wildcats run.

Pub Date: 4/15/99

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