Collins, Caslin fuel Fallston to 7-3 victory over Bel Air

Cougars quiet Bobcats, face date with Dundalk

Class 3A baseball

May 15, 1999|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Justin Collins' arm and John Caslin's bat were nearly all that was necessary to lift fifth-ranked Fallston to a 7-3 victory over No. 12 Bel Air in a Class 3A North region first-round game yesterday.

Caslin led visiting Fallston, which had 10 hits, by going 2-for-4 with four RBIs. His third-inning, three-run home run overcame a 2-0 deficit for a permanent lead as the Cougars (15-2) eliminated the Bobcats (17-3) before about 300.

"My only home run of the season came in the clutch," said Caslin, who has nine doubles this season. "The second time up was the result of confidence. Different people on this team come through every day. Today, it was my time."

Collins went primarily with a sneaky fastball to improve to 4-1. He struck out three batters, walked one and yielded three hits, retiring 10 straight batters at one point.

Bel Air split regular-season games with Fallston, which overcame a 3-0 deficit in its earlier 5-3 victory. And by winning yesterday's battle of Harford County co-champs, the Cougars advanced into Monday's quarterfinal game against Dundalk.

The Fallson victory came over a squad that carried a team batting average of .390, the best in the 15-year tenure of Bel Air coach Mike Ennis.

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Collins helped himself by going 2-for-3, with a triple and an RBI. Matt Toomey and Mike Duncan each were also 2-for-3, the latter also doubling in a run, and leadoff batter Adam Vaught had a hit, walked three times and scored three runs.

Bel Air scored twice in the second inning for a 2-0 lead, and again in the sixth -- all on errors.

"We scored 18 runs in one inning of one game, and we've had 10 runs in a couple other innings," Ennis said. "They helped us out a couple of times, but Collins shut us down in the middle innings."

"They had trouble with my fastball, so I stayed with that," said Collins. "Beating them twice feels great after losing to them twice last year. The last time I lost was right here in the first round of the regions."

But as poetic as the win was for Collins, it seemed equally unjust for Bel Air starter Kyle George, who was a freshman on the Bobcats' state title team in 1996 and who is bound for Wallace State (Ala.) Community College.

George hit .556 with six home runs and five triples this season, his single-season school-record 43 RBIs stands two shy of the state record.

George tried to get things going yesterday with a first-inning single, as did teammate Eric Stephenson, with a second-inning double. But Collins retired 10 straight batters after that, yielding only a single to Bel Air's next-to-last batter, Mike Cesky.

George (6-foot, 180) ended his season with 56 strikeouts and a 6-2 record -- both of the losses coming to Fallston.

George retired the first three batters he faced, including Caslin, who struck out. But Caslin's recovery included a fifth-inning RBI single for a 4-2 lead.

Pub Date: 5/15/99

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