Severna Park thaws enough to beat S. Carroll in opener

Pitchers Smith, Howell hold fort for Falcons, 6-3

Baseball

High Schools

March 23, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

It was typical, Baltimore-area March weather - temperatures in the mid-30s and the wind chill in the low 20s - as No. 15-ranked South Carroll dropped a 6-3 decision at No. 3 Severna Park in the season opener for both teams.

"We practiced in T-shirts [Thursday] and this kind of weather makes it hard to play baseball, but I thought both teams did an excellent job with the conditions," South Carroll coach George Richardson said.

Pitching is expected to be a strength for both of these Class 3A teams, who could meet down the road in the postseason.

Two Severna Park right-handers, senior Kevin Smith and junior Tom Howell, who was making his first varsity appearance, got as loose as they could, working four and three innings, respectively.

"Kevin threw well with his velocity and Tommy coming in with his off-speed stuff was more effective that way," Severna Park coach Jim McCandless said.

"Despite the weather, we saw some good things today."

All but two hitters in the Falcons' lineup had at least one hit, with first baseman Tim Pollock singling twice.

South Carroll also used two pitchers, but left-handed starter Bo Sauter ran into control problems in a three-run Falcons third.

"Bo didn't get to loosen up - not enough warmups with it being as cold as it is and that probably had a lot to do with it," Richardson said.

Sauter gave up an unearned run in the first after his teammates spotted him a 2-0 lead on RBI singles by Jim Dahlgren and Brad Mayr. Alex Vitale led off the Falcons' second with a homer to center to tie the game at 2, but Sauter got the next three hitters.

Ryan Funk drew a leadoff walk off Sauter in the bottom of the third, leading to another base on balls and three singles to chase the Cavaliers' starter. Smith helped his cause with a two-out, two-run single and Gregg Drenning followed with a single to make it 5-2, Severna Park.

Ryan Mantua came on to get the final out of the third and gave up just one more run in his 3 1/3 innings of work. Pollock delivered a two-out single to produce the Falcons' final run in the sixth.

Smith settled down after the first and, though his teammates committed four errors, he didn't give up another run.

The Cavaliers loaded the bases in Smith's final inning on two Falcons errors and Bryan Lowry's second single of the game, but Dahlgren's fly ball to center was caught by Andrew Jensen with his back against the fence.

Dahlgren lifted it over the fence his next time up - in the seventh off Howell - but it came with two outs and nobody on. It was the only run Howell gave up.

Howell struck out the side in the fifth and added a fourth strikeout in the fifth. It resulted in an odd double play after Howell walked Tyler Kraus with one out.

Falcons catcher Steve Weber didn't catch strike three to DJ Payne, who was automatically out with first base occupied. Unsure of whether he should run, Kraus wandered off first and Weber picked him off for the third out.

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