St. Mary's surprises Severn for 5th in row

Shea's pitching moves Saints to 5-1 triumph, one win away from title

MIAA B baseball

May 21, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

In St. Mary's pitcher Pat Shea's words, the Saints are on a roll.

Since losing their first Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference baseball playoff game, the Saints have won five straight, including yesterday's 5-1 upset victory over Severn.

St. Mary's (14-8) is now one victory away from the championship in the double-elimination tournament, and plays Severn (17-3) again today at 3:30 p.m. at Arlington Baptist, the same site as yesterday.

Shea and Severn's Ben Pfinsgraff squared off in a battle of undefeated pitchers, each with a 7-0 record.

But Pfinsgraff is considered the ace of the league, and had beaten St. Mary's twice, while allowing just one run in the two games. Severn won those games, 14-1 and 7-0. Pfinsgraff also had struck out 71 batters in 41 innings, had a 0.40 ERA and had not allowed a home run.

That all changed yesterday. St. Mary's hit two home runs off Pfinsgraff in the fourth inning, a three-run blast to right field by Mike Clautice and a two-run shot to center field by Danny Fink. Two walks by Pfinsgraff and an error by his third baseman all resulted in base runners who scored. Pfinsgraff walked six batters and allowed six hits while striking out seven.

"I wasn't getting my other pitches over, and felt I had to throw too many fastballs that inning [fourth]," Pfinsgraff said. "I hadn't given up more than two runs in a game all season."

Shea (8-0) had a no-hitter through the first five innings before he gave up an unearned run and his first hit (by Pfinsgraff) in the sixth inning. The run scored on a bases-loaded walk, following an error, a single and a walk.

"It felt real good to beat him [Pfinsgraff]," Shea said. "He shut us out last time. This is the first time we hit two home runs in a game."

St. Mary's coach Dan Fink, whose son Danny homered, obviously was pleased with Shea's effort, especially since he considers Clautice, who will pitch today, the team's No. 1 pitcher.

"All guts," is how Fink described Shea. "He had excellent location and he never quit."

Severn coach Tom Pollard, whose team fell to 3-1 in the playoffs, said: "We weren't patient at the plate and tried to kill it [baseball]. But they made some nice plays in the field, and hit the ball in that one inning." He said he'd start Chris Avery today.

"We lost our first game and no one thought we'd get this far," Clautice said. "Everyone has been expecting them to win."

St. Mary's 000 500 0 - 5 6 2

Severn 000 001 0 - 1 2 1

Shea and Perkins; Pfinsgraff and Williams. 2B: SM-Santoriello. HR: SM-Clautice, Fink.

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