Calvert Hall coach Lou Eckerl went into this baseball season not worried about his team's hitting. You needed only to watch Eckerl's Cardinals swing the bat on a glorious spring afternoon at St. Paul's in Brooklandville yesterday to see why.
The visiting Cardinals unleashed a 14-hit attack to outscore St. Paul's, 9-6, in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rematch of last May 20's conference title game, which St. Paul's won, 4-1. The Crusaders also hit the ball well, getting 11 hits of their own, three by catcher Chad Durakis, including a two-run homer.
The game saw only five strikeouts (three by St. Paul's), exceptional for the high school level.
"We're hitting at a .440 pace with a .550-something on-base [percentage], so the hitting is there," said Eckerl, whose Cards are 6-0 overall and dropped St. Paul's to 6-4. "As long as our pitching comes through, we're looking good."
Junior Jeremy Jakubowski was Calvert Hall's starting pitcher, but he gave way to sophomore Tim Sexton in the fourth after Steve Johnson's double tied the score at 6-6. Sexton did not give up a run in 2 1/3 innings to get the win, with senior Ryan Lanpher blanking the Cardinals in the seventh inning.
Nick Deaner, a senior second baseman who led off for the first time, went 4-for-4 and also laid down a sacrifice bunt in the sixth inning that led to what proved to be the winning run.
Deaner's bunt moved Jakubowski, who had reached second on a throwing error, to third. Jakubowski raced home on Ryan Frey's sacrifice fly to center to make it a 7-6 game. Deaner scored twice and knocked in two more runs, the second in the seventh to make the score 9-6.
Senior catcher/outfielder Matt Parks had three hits, including a double and a home run in the sixth inning off sophomore Nate Curd that made the score 8-6. Parks also scored twice and had two RBIs.
Two more seniors, Pat Carberry and Dan Tomaschko, each had two hits.
"We've been waiting for this since last year," said Parks. "It was a great win, something we really needed. We're playing really well right now."
Calvert Hall ran its league record to 3-0 and left the defending champions at 1-2 in the conference.
"We're struggling a little bit, but we're hitting the heck out of the ball," said St. Paul's coach Paul Bernstorf. "We've been hitting line drives right at people and have hit into seven line-drive double plays so far this year. But we'll get it together. It's a long season, and we're 1-2. But all we have to do is win 11 games [out of 18] to get into the playoffs."