Franklin upends Eastern in 9th, 3-2

Elhai's throw to second catches No. 8 Maverick trying to steal, ends game

Baseball

April 23, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

A pre-season injury to Franklin's projected catcher made Shawn Elhai the starter by default, but the junior has been eager to show he belongs.

"Nobody wanted the spot, so I stepped up," said Elhai, who played the position for the first time last spring on the JV. "But I've been dying to prove myself."

Elhai did that yesterday with a key hit and a game-saving defensive play in a 3-2, nine-inning upset victory at No. 8 Eastern Tech.

He started the ninth with a single and was replaced by courtesy runner Adam Schuman, who stole second base and eventually scored the winning run on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the inning, with two outs and the tying run on first base, Elhai threw out a runner -- second baseman Drew Outten made the tag -- trying to steal second.

"It was my chance to prove to my teammates that I was a quality catcher, so I threw as hard as I could. It was a bullet -- right into Outten's glove," Elhai said. "My teammates mobbed me. It was amazing. I've never felt better in my life."

The Baltimore County 4A-3A Division I win helped the Indians (5-2, 4-1) remain in contention with the Mavericks (11-3, 6-1) for the league title.

Eastern Tech had two more hits than Franklin, but Outten, shortstop Chris Parker and third baseman Kyle Campbell played nearly flawless defense: they combined for five putouts and 15 assists. They also continually ran down potential hits and got the ball to first baseman Phil Ranker (2-for-4) to support pitcher Matt Ridgely (3-1), who went the distance with three strikeouts and no walks.

Outten's fourth-inning defensive effort was the most spectacular. While Parker covered second base, a diving Outten dug Corey Huemmer's hard, low shot from the dirt before tossing the ball to Parker to start a double play that ended the inning.

"They made the plays when it counted and we didn't play the bunt well," said coach Kenny King, whose Mavericks allowed the Indians to reach safely on two of the five bunts they attempted.

Eastern Tech led 1-0 after one inning. Matt Moffa doubled, took third base on a single by Jimmy Thomas and scored the game's first run on a fielder's choice.

But the Indians took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning. Designated hitter George Burnham reached on a two-base error to start the inning, later making it 1-1 on Dustin Roloff's squeeze bunt. Roloff also scored for a 2-1 lead on a bases-loaded fielder's choice.

In the bottom of the inning, however, Eastern Tech tied it at 2 on Danny Hoskins' single.

"We've been mostly a team of role players, but today, we had some guys step up at the plate," said Franklin coach Larry Meekins. "And our defense, that's been something we've been able to rely on all year."

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