Loveless leads Centennial to Riv. Hill championship

Pitcher goes strong 6 for second win of year


March 26, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Brad Loveless of Centennial overcame cold, windy conditions to pitch the Eagles to a 4-3 victory in the championship game of the River Hill baseball tournament yesterday.

In winning his second straight game of the season, Loveless dominated the Hawks by allowing only three hits and striking out eight batters in six innings. He walked two. At one point, he retired 10 straight batters and struck out six of them.

He had the Hawks hitting the ball weakly on the ground, retiring nine batters on ground balls. Brian Heinz was the only Hawk retired on a fly ball.

"In this weather, my arm angle was not loose, so my arm didn't feel as good as usual," Loveless said. "I was trying to be efficient."

His most effective pitch was his 90 mph fastball, but later in the game, his split-fingered fastball started working well.

"He pitched better today and didn't walk people," Centennial coach Dave Appleby said. "There were not many deep counts and he got the strikeout when he needed it. He's mastering that art. He doesn't beat himself. He was changing speeds and using his teammates because we have a good defensive team. He threw a high percentage of first-pitch strikes and kept us in the game. He did a good job."

Centennial forged a 3-0 lead after two innings on an RBI single by Jeff Miller in the first inning, and a sacrifice fly by J.L. Feely and a wild pitch that scored a run in the second inning.

Miller, who did not play in Centennial's first game this season, went 3-for-3, including a double, and was 4-for-6 in yesterday's doubleheader.

Centennial defeated Oakland Mills, 2-0, in the opening game behind a fine pitching performance from sophomore left-hander John Dupski.

"We found another hitter [Miller] today," said Appleby, whose team has struggled at the plate thus far this season despite its 3-1 record.

River Hill (1-1) tied the game at 3-3 in the third inning. Loveless issued a leadoff walk to Jeff Marquart. Ben Trappuzzano singled on the ground to right field. Trappuzzano then stole second base, and Marquart scored on the throw to second base.

Brian Heinz lifted a solid single to right field to score Trappuzzano.

The third run scored when Justin Bilohlavek hit a chopper in front of the plate, and Centennial catcher Ben Townsend threw him out at first base.

Loveless then retired the next 10 batters.

He was relieved in the seventh inning by Tom Phelan, who faced three batters and struck out two to earn the save.

River Hill reached the final by way of a 4-3 victory over Central of Erie (Pa.).

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