Zabel, Crow throw no-hitter

Starter's six innings followed by 3 quick outs in Mount Hebron's 1-0 win

High Schools

Baseball

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

Mount Hebron's John Zabel is going on a physics field trip to Six Flags amusement park today.

None of the rides will compare to the one he's enjoying this season for the Vikings' baseball team.

Yesterday, the three-sport athlete pitched the major part of a combined no-hitter against the Vikings' closest competitor, shutting down host Centennial, 1-0.

Zabel, who struck out seven and walked one, was able to pitch only six innings because of a state rule limiting him to 14 innings during a seven-day period.

A well-rested Steve Crow finished off the memorable game and the Eagles by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The league-leading, No. 10-ranked Vikings (11-3 overall, 10-2 league), lightly regarded in preseason forecasts, continue to befuddle their county competition with a combination of effective pitching, stellar defense and solid hitting, despite starting four sophmores.

Zabel's effort was a payback to No. 13 Centennial (9-5, 7-5), whose Tom Phelan had no-hit the Vikings earlier this season.

Centennial's Brad Loveless also pitched an outstanding game yesterday. He limited Mount Hebron to three hits and struck out 11 in a complete-game effort.

But with two outs in the fourth inning, Zabel hit a "swinging bunt" single down the first-base line.

"I checked my swing," said Zabel.

Loveless fielded the ball and Zabel dove toward the base. Loveless' tag was a hair late.

Adam Grap, the designated hitter, then drove a 1-0 pitch into the left-center field gap, and Zabel raced home with the game's lone run without drawing a throw to the plate.

"Everyone played solid defense and contributed," said Grap. "Andrew Duzor called a good game behind the plate. Andrew McSkimming at shortstop and Kevin Lambert at third base made good plays."

Loveless gave up a harmless single to Lambert in the fifth inning, walked four and hit a batter, but was otherwise overpowering. Mount Hebron hit just two balls out of the infield.

"This was as sharp as I've seen Brad pitch in a while," said Eagles coach Dave Appleby. "He made one mistake to Grap. Zabel is crafty and kept our hitters off balance."

Only two Centennial batters reached base. A. J. Tinnerella reached on an error in the fourth inning and Phelan reached on a walk in the fifth. Nine Eagles struck out looking.

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