J. Carroll nips Gibbons, 1-0, on two-hitter by Grissom

Dircks' homer beats Volker in pitching duel

Baseball

High School

April 12, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

John Carroll's Mark Grissom was one pitch better than his Cardinal Gibbons counterpart, Jason Volker, at Babe Ruth Field in southwest Baltimore yesterday.

That one pitch was an off-speed serving from Volker that Paul Dircks, John Carroll's cleanup hitter and first baseman, hit over the right-field fence, leading off the second inning. It gave No. 9-ranked John Carroll a 1-0 win over No. 12 Gibbons in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference play.

Grissom (3-0), a senior left-hander, set down the first 10 Crusaders (10-6, 3-5) he faced on the way to a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts and one walk in 91 pitches.

Volker (3-2), a senior right-hander, scattered six hits, struck out seven and did not walk a batter in 86 pitches.

"Got to give [Grissom] credit," said Gibbons coach Lou Holcomb. "He kept the ball down, changed speeds a little bit and kept us off balance. ... Jason [Volker] only made the one mistake, and we let him down on the offensive end. It was a good pitching effort that, unfortunately, went to waste."

Said John Carroll coach George Cooper, whose senior-laden Patriots are now 5-0 and 4-0, about his pitcher: "Mark was outstanding, keeping the curve ball down when he had to, working the corners - real sharp. And he had a good defense behind him."

The game was error-free.

Grissom struck out eight of the first 10 Crusaders he faced before yielding a one-out walk to Josh Peach in the fourth inning. Peach was picked off by Grissom but beat first baseman Dirck's throw to second for a stolen base.

Volker flied to short right and Grissom struck out Gibbons cleanup hitter, Nick Popp, to end the fourth.

Grissom lost his bid for a no-hitter in the fifth on a single to right by Gibbons catcher Jason Burgess. Josh Thomas beat out an infield grounder in the sixth for Gibbons' other hit.

Thomas was erased on Grissom's nifty pickoff move, and Joe Diserio grounded out to end the sixth.

Grissom, who seemed to lose a little on his fast ball in the fifth and sixth innings, reached back in the seventh to get Peach swinging and Volker looking - his first two strikeouts since the fourth - to start a 1-2-3 last at-bat for the Crusaders.

"My adrenaline in the last inning, because I wanted to finish it, got my fast ball back," he said. "Close games like this make you concentrate more."

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