Miller puts his emotion to work for E. Tech, 6-2

Two-run double in sixth hands Lansdowne loss

Baseball

March 25, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

It has taken a while, but Eastern Tech's Kenny Miller has learned to use the nickname given him by his teammates - "H.C." - as a source of motivation.

"They call me that because I can be a head case, maybe have a little bit of an attitude - sometimes good, sometimes bad," said Miller. "I can throw a few things when I'm upset. Today, I took my frustrations out on the ball."

After popping out in his second at-bat, Miller focused his anger in a positive direction yesterday afternoon, finishing 3-for-5, including a game-winning, two-run double in the Mavericks' 6-2 Baltimore County League Class 2A-1A victory at Lansdowne.

The game was tied at 2 in the top of the sixth inning when Miller's double, with no outs, scored Vince Stella and Bryan Moffa to put the Mavericks ahead for good.

"We didn't click at first, and everyone was trying to crush the ball," said Miller, who then scored his second run of the day on a passed ball, giving the Mavericks a 5-2 lead. "Once we got relaxed, we got into it."

Miller's effort provided some breathing room for Mavericks right hander Sam Ashton, who had thrown 93 pitches and was about to be pulled by coach Spike McElfish.

Ashton came back strong in the bottom of the sixth, however, retiring the side on a grounder to third base, a strikeout and a comebacker - a total of 13 pitches.

After teammate Lonnie Cellini walked in the seventh and later scored on a passed ball for the final score, Ashton got another comebacker and induced a double play to end the game.

"I threw a lot of breaking pitches, moved it around a lot," said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Ashton, who allowed five hits, struck out five and hit a batter. "We started off slow, but I knew the team would come around."

The Vikings (0-1) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. After consecutive singles by Chad Ellis and Shawn Lyons, Lansdowne scored off Matt Clevenger's sacrifice fly and Brandon Raynor's double. In the top of the fourth, with two outs and the tying runs on base, Lansdowne starter Rob Teal got the final batter swinging at a fastball.

But Teal couldn't escape a jam in the top of the fifth when Cellini's sacrifice fly followed a single by Dan Hoskins. Their efforts scored Miller and Chris Barnes, each of whom had reached on singles.

Kenny Berlett was among the eight Mavericks with at least one hit.

"We're on our way," said McElfish, who coached last year's junior varsity to its second undefeated season in three years. "The kids are learning to win, and they expect to win."

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