Pitchers' successes striking in opening week of season

Phipps-Davis duel tops string of strong outings

Notebook

High Schools

March 28, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Offense and the big bats of Hammond was the talk of the league during the preseason, but through a chilly first week of the season, the top performances have definitely belonged to the pitchers.

Nowhere was it more evident than at Mount Hebron. Vikings coach Matt Forsyth said he was concerned about his pitching staff's lack of experience coming into the year, and he had good reason. The defending county champs had only one pitcher, Dave Goldberg, with any varsity experience, and that was limited to only four innings last season.

However, Forsyth expected big things from pitcher Blake Phipps, who showed a tremendous amount of potential last season playing third base, and Phipps delivered in the Vikings' first game of the season, striking out 12 while throwing eight shutout innings in a 2-0 win against Long Reach last Friday. Phipps yielded only five hits and walked only one batter.

"Blake was phenomenal out there," Forsyth said. "He was just mowing guys down."

Nearly as impressive was Long Reach pitcher Chris Davis, as he matched Phipps inning for inning, throwing seven scoreless innings before Viking catcher Joe Michalski ended the standoff with a game-winning, two-run home run in the eighth.

The excellence wasn't limited to the Lightning and Vikings however. Hammond pitcher Kevin Schwartz, who went 9-0 last season with a 1.91 ERA, picked up right where he left off in the Bears' opening game, throwing six shutout innings, and combining with Joe Amaral, who pitched a scoreless seventh, on a one-hitter in an 8-0 blanking of Centennial.

The best performance of the bunch, however, probably belonged to Atholton sophomore Vyt Rivers, who shined on the mound and at the plate against Oakland Mills on Friday. Rivers gave up a hit to the first batter of the game, but didn't allow a hit the rest of the way, tossing a six-inning, one-hit shutout.

"What he does really well is throws strikes," said Atholton coach Kevin Kelly. "Right now, I think the pitchers are a little ahead of the hitters, but Vyt certainly had a nice game for us."

Lacrosse

Mount Hebron, the 11th-ranked boys lacrosse team in the area, can silence any doubters with a couple of big wins this week. Mount Hebron travels to Hammond today to face an athletic Bears squad that has generated a fair amount of buzz in the preseason. On Saturday, the Vikings travel to face No. 5 McDonogh, one of the top teams in the MIAA A Conference.

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