Bantner's defense, offense lift Wright over Fallston

Catch in seventh saves run in Mustangs' 8-7 win

May 22, 1999|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It was quite a week for C. Milton Wright outfielder Sean Bantner, but the senior saved his best -- defense and offense -- for the last.

His outstanding running catch in the top of the seventh saved a run, and his line shot to right field led to the winning run in the bottom of the inning, as the Mustangs upset visiting Fallston, 8-7, in the Class 3A North regional final.

Reliever Phillip Akens hit leadoff batter Nate Weigl in the seventh, and one out later, Bantner slashed his hit to right. When the return was botched, Weigl, who had stopped at third, charged home with the winning run.

Earlier in the week, Bantner drove in the tying run of what became a late 8-6 win over Parkville in a quarterfinal game, then scored the winning run against Eastern Tech in the last of the seventh of a semifinal game.

A solid offensive player (runs, hits and RBIs in the mid-20's for the season), Bantner is hitting close to .400. Of his catch off a bid by Mike Duncan, he said, "I knew I had to try for it. If I didn't get it, it would have been gone [for a two-run homer]."

Wright, runner-up to Damascus in last year's state Class 3A championship round, moved intoTuesday's state semifinal, where it will play South Carroll at Joe Cannon Stadium. South Carroll beat Linganore yesterday, 12-0.

Through 5 1/2 innings, favored No. 5 Fallston (17-3) led on three occasions, but the first two times, the No. 14 Mustangs (15-8) rallied to go in front, and the third time, got a tie at 7-7 in the last of the sixth.

Junior outfielder Chris Frohn had the big bat twice, driving in C. Milton Wright's first two runs with a second-inning single, then banging a three-run homer to right field in the fourth.

"I've been hitting in spurts," Frohn said. "The home-run pitch was a good one, over the middle of the plate." On the other side, Bryan Owens hit a bases-empty homer and Duncan a three-run shot to highlight a four-run third. Designated hitter Justin Krout (two hits) tripled home one and scored the other on an Owens single. These efforts sent the Cougars in front 7-6 headed to the bottom of the sixth.

There, winning pitcher Gavin Martin delivered a two-out single to score designated hitter Scott Guzewich (one hit and two walks) with the tying run.

Fallston charged back, briefly, in the top of the seventh when Matt Toomey drew a leadoff walk. A moment later, Bantner not only made his great catch, but started the relay that doubled up Toomey, who had been running all the way, and had no shot at getting back safely.

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