Centennial uses power, cruises into state final

13 runs in 5 innings overwhelm Wicomico

2A baseball

May 26, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

For the six senior starters on the Centennial baseball team, getting to the Class 2A state final is more than just a goal. It's a second chance to wipe away a bitter memory.

The Eagles, the West region champions, cashed in on their opportunity last night by scoring 13 runs in five innings to beat East region champ Wicomico, 13-1, in a state semifinal at Arundel Senior High School in Gambrills.

Centennial, ranked eighth with a 20-5 record, will vie for the state title against Walkersville, the North region champion, at 3: 30 p.m. Saturday at Joe Cannon Stadium.

Senior Steve Fredrick scattered three hits and got 11 of the 15 outs on strikeouts to improve his record to 10-3, and senior catcher Matt Deuchler launched a towering bases-empty home run in the second inning to boost the Eagles.

But all eyes were on the grand prize -- a shot at the state crown.

"There aren't many times when you get a second chance at things," Deuchler said, recalling the 9-3 loss to Liberty two years ago. "This is our chance."

Added senior second baseman Chris Tiedemann, who drove in two runs on sacrifice flies: "It seemed like two years ago, we were young and inexperienced. Now we know how to adjust to situations."

Centennial didn't have to do too much adjusting against Indians junior pitcher Mike Lutz. Senior shortstop Mike Martin (3-for-4 and one RBI) led off the game with a double to right-center field. After Tiedemann grounded to third base, Deuchler hit a sharp bouncer to Wicomico junior shortstop Bobby Shaw, who couldn't handle it.

With Martin on third, senior third baseman Shawn Cudzilo flied out to right field -- far enough for Martin to score.

Wicomico responded in the bottom of the first. After Fredrick struck out sophomore center fielder Joel Maher, junior second baseman Gray Kitchens laced a single to right and later stole second.

Fredrick forced senior catcher Aaron Ennis to pop up to center, but the next batter, Shaw, roped a single to left to drive in Kitchens.

After that, the Eagles pounded the Indians pitching, driving away Lutz and two other relievers.

Centennial scored five runs in the second, including Deuchler's bases-empty shot and junior first baseman Steve Lazarewicz's two-out, two-run triple. The Eagles added a run in the third, and then exploded in the fourth for five more runs, including a two-run single by senior right fielder Jeff Plank.

Centennial finished the scoring with a run in the fifth.

Although the offense played a major role in the victory, coach Ron Martin was effusive in his praise of Fredrick, who at one point struck out five straight Wicomico batters.

"He was incredible," Martin said. "He kept it around the plate and did a dynamite job."

Said Fredrick, who also was 2-for-3 at the plate, of his performance: "I've thrown harder, but I was hitting my spots pretty consistently. I had them swinging up there."

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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