Long Reach, Helman strike down Howard, 6-2

Lefty has 11 strikeouts in complete-game win


May 03, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Rough around the edges at the start of the season, the Long Reach baseball team is looking smooth and polished these days.

It's not hard to see why, either. Left-handed pitcher Bob Helman tossed his second straight gem for the Lightning, going seven innings and striking out 11 to defeat Howard, 6-2, at Joe Cannon Field yesterday.

Helman, who threw six innings of no-hit baseball against Hammond in his last start, wasn't quite as dominant as he was against the Bears. But he didn't allow the Lions to string any big innings together, working his way out of a couple jams to raise his record to 4-1.

"I've got to give credit to my catcher Justin Sosebee," Helman said. "He called another great game today against a tough lineup, and we put together another team effort."

Long Reach's Matt Sillers broke things open early with a bases-loaded triple in the first inning off Howard pitcher Mike Burke. After giving up four first-inning hits, Burke recovered to pitch well over the next three innings, but the damage was done as the Lightning took a 4-0 lead.

"Matt has really been fighting himself, and to see him step up in his big moment gave us a big lift," said Long Reach coach Tim O'Brien. "He's one of those kids that everyone on the club pulls for. He made it a lot easier for our pitcher to go out there with a little bit of a lead."

Burke, who blew away hitters much of last season, going 5-2 with a 2.12 ERA while striking out 43 batters in 43 innings, has been bothered much of this season by a sore shoulder, and it probably hindered him against the Lightning.

"Mike really wanted to start today, but if I had to do it over again I probably wouldn't have started him," said Howard coach Rich Jenkins. "It probably wasn't fair to him. He's pitched well in the games he has played, but he's a little banged up right now."

Burke did show his impressive power at the plate, driving a triple to the center-field fence in the fifth inning that pulled Howard within 5-2, but in the sixth inning Sosebee singled to bring home Sillers, and Helman earned worked a 1-2-3 seventh for the complete-game victory. The win was Long Reach's third in a row, moving the Lightning to 8-10 on the year. The Lions dropped to 7-8.

"This is what we've been talking about all along," O'Brien said. "Our seniors are really coming on and our young kids are starting to blossom. The big thing for us has been keeping faith, believing the good stuff is coming. It's starting to pay off for them."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.