Liberty rallies to win over Westminster

Simpson's 2-run single caps 4-run seventh inning


High Schools

April 24, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Liberty third baseman Andrew Simpson had a stomach virus on Sunday that carried over into yesterday and threatened to bench him.

"But this was my last game against Westminster," said the Lions senior. "So there was no way that I wasn't going to play."

Good thing for Liberty. Simpson's two-run, two-out single up the middle capped a four-run seventh-inning rally by the No. 14-ranked Lions and delivered a 6-4 victory over the Owls. Liberty extended its winning streak to six games. Simpson also hit a two-out, two-run single in the third inning of the 2-hour, 40-minute game.

"He [Simpson] beat us last season with a hit," said Westminster coach Jimmy Rodriguez, who watched a second straight brilliant pitching performance by Jason Thayer end in defeat.

Equally important for Liberty (7-2 overall, 3-1 county) was the six innings of relief pitching by side-arming right-hander Anthony Desimone, who inherited a no-out, bases-loaded situation in the second and escaped unscathed by striking out three straight batters.

Desimone (2-1) struck out eight, walked three, allowed six hits and three runs, and also escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning on a double play. His leadoff single ignited the seventh-inning rally.

Westminster (5-4, 2-1) erased a 2-1 Liberty lead with four straight hits and a wild pitch that resulted in three runs off Desimone in the fourth inning.

Thayer made that lead stand with a three-hit effort through six innings. Liberty's two runs at that point were unearned.

But Thayer, who baffled the Lions with mainly breaking balls, had thrown 100 pitches heading into the seventh inning. After allowing a single, back-to-back Liberty batters hit into forceouts at second base.

Thayer was one strike away from retiring Jim Miller before Miller singled. He also was one strike away from retiring Alex Moore before walking him.

That's when Rodriguez brought in reliever Rafe Bridges, who had missed two weeks with a broken left wrist and was cleared Monday to play. Bridges walked the two batters he faced, forcing in two runs and tying the game, 4-4.

Sean Brewer relieved Bridges and gave up the game-winning hit to Simpson.

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