Miller stars in Liberty's 14-2 rout of South Carroll

Junior does in defending champs with his arm, bat

March 25, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SUN STAFF

Liberty junior Jim Miller took the mound yesterday against defending Class 3A state champion South Carroll and rewrote the "how-to" manual on varsity debuts.

Using an assortment of slow curves and sliders, the right-hander throttled the Cavaliers for three innings before tiring, and went 3-for-3, with a double, triple, home run and four RBIs, as the host Lions opened their season with a 14-2 romp.

"We came in knowing that they were defending state champions, and we wanted to jump on them," said Miller. "[Our] team hit the ball well. It makes it a little easier to go out there in my first outing after the team gets some runs for me."

The Lions (1-0) had plenty of inspiration.

Players dedicated the game to teammate Andrew Simpson, whose mother died Thursday after a bout with cancer.

"This game was for Andrew," Miller said.

If the Lions were emotionally intense, however, the Cavaliers (1-1) seemed emotionally spent after Thursday's season-opening win over Catonsville, in which pitcher Bo Sauter, a late transfer from Calvert Hall, fired a no-hitter.

"I knew we'd have a letdown today," said South Carroll coach George Richardson. "We didn't come out with a lot of enthusiasm today, and we didn't adjust to things."

Liberty got all the offense it needed in the first two innings, battering starter Mike Beccio for 11 runs (nine earned) on nine hits in an inning plus. Miller and shortstop Kevin Magaw each delivered two-run homers, and Miller added a two-run triple as part of a seven-run second.

On the mound, meanwhile, Miller cruised, not allowing a hit until Ron Abigill's one-out double in the third. He said he began to tire in the fourth, consistently leaving his slider up in the zone. It was on one of those hanging sliders that the junior lost his bid for a shutout, as Cavaliers catcher Gary Harrison belted a two-run homer to center.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, however, coach Erik Barnes replaced Miller with Rick Hogg, who promptly induced Teddy Daniels into an inning-ending grounder to second.

"I was real pleased with the pitching," said Barnes. "I've said all along that I felt this was a team that could score some runs, but our pitching staff would be a question mark."

After a disappointing 11-11 season last year, the Lions feel poised for a rebound. Yesterday, they said, was a good start.

"They're a quality baseball team every year, so to get a win over South Carroll anytime, defending state champs or not, is a good win," said Barnes.

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