Mistakes catch up to Owls in 10-4 loss

Disastrous 7th inning eases way for Urbana

April 13, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

For six innings yesterday, the Westminster Owls continually battled back from a steady stream of uncharacteristic defensive and mental errors to push Central Maryland Conference power Urbana to the brink.

In the seventh inning, however, the mistakes finally won out.

The host Owls committed three errors in the top of the seventh that led to six unearned runs, as the Frederick County team quickly turned a nail-biter into a 10-4 rout.

"It was one of those things where the game just kind of got out of hand," said Westminster coach Jim Rodriguez. "But like I told the kids, you look at the seventh inning and you may think that's the difference. In my opinion, it's not. I think it's things that happened in the first six innings that played the biggest factor ."

Despite a solid pitching effort from spot starter Sam Chamelin, who allowed four runs on 11 hits over six-plus innings, the Owls (5-2 overall, 3-2 CMC) time and again hurt their own cause, both in the field -- where they committed five errors -- and on the base paths.

ka,10 After scoring a run in the third to cut the deficit to 4-2, Westminster's rally was foiled when Mike McFeeley was picked off second by catcher Bryan Eberle to end the inning. Then, with bases loaded and one out in the sixth, the Owls ran themselves out of a possible big inning when pinch hitter Ryan Bear failed to get the bunt down on a suicide squeeze, and the runner from third was nailed at the plate.

ka,0 Bear then popped out to end the inning.

"I made a risky decision," said Rodriguez of the failed squeeze play. "It's easy hindsight to say maybe you shouldn't have done that, but I said, `Why not. Let's give it a shot.'"

Urbana (6-3, 4-2) then took that momentum into the top of the seventh, when Clayton Burgee and Bryan Eberle started the inning by each reaching on infield miscues, and the Hawks went on to send 10 men to the plate in the inning, scoring six times.

With his Nos. 4, 5 and 6 hitters due up in the inning, Urbana coach Steve Sigler said he thought his team had an excellent chance to take the lead.

"I felt like we were going to get a run or two," said Sigler. "I was just hoping our pitcher didn't run out of gas."

Rodriguez is hoping the loss will be a learning experience for his players.

"We drifted in and out of mental lapses." said Rodriguez. "We just don't seem to be focusing sometimes. Even the last couple of games we've done that, but we've been able to bounce back."

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