Ashwell gives Westminster boost

Calvert Hall transfer pitches 5 strong innings, goes 2-for-4 vs. Liberty


High Schools

April 03, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Westminster lost a lot of talent to graduation, but in its opening-day baseball game against Liberty yesterday, discovered an outstanding newcomer, Eddie Ashwell.

Ashwell, a junior right-hander who played at Calvert Hall last season, threw five strong innings of three-hit ball and drove in four runs with a 2-for-4 day at the plate.

His efforts spearheaded a 9-3 Westminster victory at Liberty on a cold but sunny day better suited for football than baseball.

"They are our rivals and we know a lot of their players from summer ball, so this is a big win," Ashwell said.

Unlike his counterpart, Liberty starting pitcher John Bruce, Ashwell was the beneficiary of good defense and timely hitting.

The Owls' defense turned a potentially game-tying fourth-inning single by Andrew Simpson into an out on an impressive relay from right fielder Mike Schettel to first baseman Howard Ward to catcher Walt Weise.

And in the first inning, Weise threw out Kevin Magaw trying to steal second base, a play that proved important since Ashwell then gave up a walk and a single to the next two batters.

Ashwell, who threw 77 pitches, struggled a bit with his control, walking five batters and stretching the count on more hitters than Westminster coach Jimmy Rodriguez would have liked.

But none of those Ashwell walks scored. In fact, it was Robbie Ruch, a fifth-inning strikeout victim who reached first on a passed ball that scored the only run off Ashwell. Magaw hit the RBI single for Liberty.

An error by Liberty second baseman Nick Sargeant, who allowed a slow ground ball to roll between his legs, started a six-run, fifth-inning rally by Westminster (1-0).

Jesse Alvarez, Rafe Bridges, Sean Brewer, Ashwell and Ryan Baer each had an RBI hit in that inning. Ashwell's hit scored two runs.

Brewer, who pitched the final two innings for Westminster, went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Ashwell's two-run single in the seventh inning gave Brewer some additional breathing room.

This loss produced a feeling of deja vu for No. 15-ranked Liberty. The Lions (0-1) also lost to Westminster on opening day a year ago before producing a 16-3 season.

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