9-run 4th lets Hebron finally start celebrating

Hoffner's 2 HRs in inning help seal county crown


High Schools

May 09, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Two years ago, when the Mount Hebron Vikings won the county baseball championship, they never had a celebration party.

They lost their first regional playoff game to Centennial and lost their desire to celebrate.

This time around they were better prepared.

And after defeating Wilde Lake yesterday, 9-3, to clinch an outright championship at Mount Hebron, the Vikings unveiled a long commercially made banner that read: Mount Hebron Vikings, 2002 Howard County Baseball Champion.

They took pictures standing behind the banner, and then they all headed to Nick and Andy Hoffner's house for a cookout.

For senior center fielder Nick Hoffner, the Vikings' best hitter, it was an especially festive occasion. He hit two home runs and drove in four runs during a nine-run fourth inning in which the Vikings had nine hits and sent 13 batters to the plate.

"It was the first day all year the wind was blowing out," said Hoffner, whose homers were his seventh and eighth this season. It was the fourth time in his career he hit two home runs in a game, but the first time he hit two in an inning.

Adam Grap (4-1) was Mount Hebron's other key player yesterday. He pitched a four-hitter and hit a two-run single in the fourth inning.

"The game plan was just to throw strikes and let the defense do its job. Everyone played well," Grap said. "We would have been disappointed if we had shared the title with Atholton.

"This is the most fun I've had in sports. This is a real team. Any time you get down, someone picks you up. We have good team chemistry right down to our bench, where Greg Sauer has been a great leader even though he hasn't played much."

The No. 7-ranked Vikings (15-5, 14-4 league) celebrated without coach Matt Forsyth, who was missing because of a death in his family. But assistant coach Billy Blair, a former Mount Hebron player, filled in ably.

Wilde Lake (4-16, 4-14) jumped on top when Brandon Schultheis unloaded a two-run home run in the third inning.

Mount Hebron, although it hit the ball hard, was held to one hit through three innings by Wilde Lake starter David Grossman.

But Hoffner led off the fourth inning with a home run to center field. John Zabel singled. Andrew McSkimming doubled. Jordan Moore had an RBI groundout. Chris Maruyama singled. Andrew Duzor hit an RBI single. Steve Crow popped out. Grap hit a two-run single. Hoffner hit a three-run homer to center. Zabel doubled. McSkimming doubled to drive in the ninth run.

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