Red-hot Centennial sweeps Mt. Hebron

Eagles gain share of first, push Vikings into second with 10-3 and 5-2 victories


High Schools

April 29, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Sometimes it takes something shocking - like losing to a team that had dropped 61 straight games - to turn around a season.

But ever since Centennial's April 2 loss to Oakland Mills, the team with the longest losing streak in county history, the Eagles have won seven of eight games.

Yesterday, host Centennial (8-4 overall, 7-2 league) swept a doubleheader from league-leading and No. 7 Mount Hebron to stretch its winning streak to six games and gain a share of first place with Glenelg (10-2, 7-2). Mount Hebron (9-3, 6-3) dropped to second place with the 10-3 and 5-2 losses.

"We've come a long way since losing to a team that lost 61 straight games," Eagles coach Denis Ahearn said. "Now, we're beating ranked teams. We're executing in key situations, eliminating mental mistakes and playing solid baseball."

It was Centennial's fifth straight win over a ranked team.

Yesterday's first game at Centennial was suspended on March 26 and resumed in the second inning with Centennial at bat and leading 3-0.

Mount Hebron's Kevin Lambert took over on the mound in place of Jeff Carr, who started the March 26 game. Two walks and two errors allowed the first four batters Lambert faced to reach base and three scored as the inning ended with a total of five runs scoring and Mount Hebron trailing 6-0.

Centennial scored four more runs in the third inning on four errors and an RBI double by Andrew Bechta.

Bechta started yesterday in place of Kyle Murray, who had started March 26, and the senior right-hander turned in his second straight gem. Bechta also beat league-leading Glenelg April 23.

"Today my curveball was working from the beginning," said Bechta, who allowed five hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings and was 3-for-4 at the plate. "This feels awesome. I know Hebron as a strong hitting team and was surprised to see their defense fall apart."

All 10 Centennial runs were unearned in the first game. The Eagles had only five hits, but had seven walks while the Vikings made nine errors.

"This is not like us," said Vikings coach Matt Forsyth. "We are a much better defensive team. It was tough having to face two of the county's better pitchers in one day."

In the second game, Centennial's Jonathan Dupski raised his record to 4-1 with a complete-game three-hitter. The junior left-hander had a perfect game through four innings until walking Carr to lead off the fifth inning. A triple by Jordan Moore drove in Mount Hebron's first run. The Vikings scored again on a suicide squeeze bunt by Andrew Duzor.

"Dupski didn't have his best curve and his fastball wasn't tailing like normal, but he's a talented pitcher who gets smarter every time," Ahearn said. "It was a great performance without his best stuff."

Centennial scored four times in the fifth inning off Mount Hebron's Carr on two walks, two errors, a fielder's choice and an RBI single by freshman Scott Swinson - the only hit of the inning.

The Vikings added a run in the sixth inning.

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