Hammond warms up, runs away

Improved Wilde Lake jumps out to lead, but Bears roar back, 14-9

Baseball

March 25, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Only a year ago, Wilde Lake didn't score a single run in two games against Hammond.

It was a different story yesterday during a windy afternoon, as the Wildecats crossed the plate nine times in the first five innings. But in a game where neither pitcher was very sharp, Hammond's hitters pounded out 12 hits, including two doubles from Joey Benedetti, en route to a 14-9 win.

"Wilde Lake has come a long way; they're very improved," Bears coach Bob Maxey said. "I think we just picked up some timely hits to score some runs on a day where we probably didn't play our best."

Hammond played without slugging senior Brian Brewer, who sat out with a pulled hamstring, but Benedetti (five RBIs) provided all the pop the Bears may have missed in his absence. Wilde Lake took a 2-0 lead in the first inning behind two singles and two Hammond errors, and loaded the bases with only one out before grounding into a double play to end the threat.

Benedetti then quickly erased the deficit, tying the score in the bottom of the inning with an RBI double off pitcher Steve Keller.

He didn't rest from there, knocking home three runs in the second with a bases-loaded double down the left-field line with one out.

"I felt like I was really on the ball today," Benedetti said. "They played us tough; I don't think we expected them to play us this close. It was one of those games you feel lucky to just come away from with a win."

Wilde Lake may have taken Hammond's lumps, but it certainly handed out a few of its own. Junior catcher Jason Galumbeck cracked a bases-empty home run in the second inning off Bears pitcher Sid Abell, and center fielder Mike Zook smacked a three-run blast over the left-field fence off Abell in the fourth.

"I don't think we really have a true power hitter on our team, but we've hit four home runs in two games, so who knows," Wildecats coach Don Storr said. "I think we played well today for the most part. Hammond is just a tough team."

Zook's home run actually pulled Wilde Lake to within 9-8, but Hammond's bats stayed hot amid the chilly temperatures, as Pat Fields scored on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, then drilled a two-out double that scored two runners in the sixth. On the day, Fields went 3-for-4, drove home two and scored four runs.

"Our pitching wasn't sharp, but we outhit them, which we'll do to a lot of teams," Maxey said. "It was a tough day to play baseball. I think as it gets a little warmer, we'll start playing a little better."

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