Atholton gets 7-2 win over Hammond

Krueger goes distance, allows only four hits

Baseball

High School

April 17, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Atholton looked like a defending 2A state championship baseball team yesterday.

The Raiders hit in the clutch. They hit with power. They made outstanding defensive plays. They showed great speed.

And they got a complete-game, four-hitter from Joel Krueger even though the senior right-hander had not pitched in 10 days.

The result was a 7-2 victory over visiting Hammond. It was the second straight day the eighth-ranked Raiders (6-2 overall, 6-2 Howard County league) had beaten the Bears (3-4, 2-4).

"Atholton is a very good club that is well-coached," said Hammond coach Mike Lerner. "We got outhit today. Our pitchers need to get ahead in the counts. Defensively, I'm not disappointed, but we're struggling with our hitting."

When the season began, Atholton was faced with the loss of two outstanding pitchers to graduation, and coach Kevin Kelly was hoping that Krueger would fill the No. 2 pitching spot behind Vyt Rivers. Krueger improved to 2-0, including a win over league co-leader Glenelg.

Krueger surrendered a run in the first inning on a triple by Kell Kulina and a sacrifice fly by Tim Corrick. But he faced only 17 batters through the first five innings, thanks partly to two double plays by shortstop James Conrad and second baseman Brendan Flannery, and a nice throw by catcher Fred Graham on an attempted steal.

Krueger gave up an additional unearned run in the seventh, walked two and hit two batters.

"I wasn't as sharp as I could have been because I haven't pitched for so long due to the weather," Krueger said. "But I finally got my two-seam fastball working and my changeup."

Two other areas of concern for Kelly when the season began were catcher and left field.

Dave Reshef, a JV player last season, has more than lived up to Kelly's hopes in left field. Reshef, who made a nice running catch in the first inning, continued his hot hitting by going 3-for-4 with three run-scoring singles to extend his hitting streak to five games and his batting average to .600 (9-for-15).

"I've always said that if you hit you play," said Kelly. "David also brings speed to our lineup."

Atholton stole 10 bases. Reshef had two of the steals.

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