Dupski, Centennial cruise, 9-0

Senior left-hander checks River Hill on one hit over 6 innings in chilly opener


High Schools

March 23, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

On a bone-chilling day like yesterday, the game of baseball demands much more mentally than on fairer weather days.

So Centennial's Jonathan Dupski practiced a technique he learned last summer that enabled him to stay focused and pitch as though the weather were no factor.

"Before every inning I went off by myself and just shut everything else out and focused on what I wanted to do," said Dupski, a senior left-hander and one of the county's top returning pitchers.

The technique proved beneficial. Dupski allowed two base runners and threw a one-hitter through six innings, leading the young Eagles to an opening-day 9-0 victory over River Hill in a battle of defending county champions at Centennial.

Dupski, who kept River Hill off balance with well-placed fastballs and tantalizing changeups, also hit two doubles and drove in three runs.

"I felt fresh," he said. "Our defense was the key. Everyone came through."

Dupski struck out seven batters and hit one, and enticed River Hill to hit numerous grounders. The Hawks didn't hit the ball out of the infield in five of the six innings he pitched. The infield handled six ground balls flawlessly, and Dupski threw out three other batters on comebackers.

Steve Davis got River Hill's only hit, a double to center field in the fourth inning. The Hawks hit three other fly balls for outs in the inning.

"J.D. is fierce on the mound, a terrific leader and a class act," said Centennial coach Denis Ahearn. "He's a true pitcher. "He can overpower some hitters, and the others he knows how to pitch to. He has good stuff and hits his spots."

The Centennial infield is all new, and has sophomore Scott Swinson at shortstop and freshman Austin Harclerode at third.

The Eagles are perhaps the youngest team in the county, starting three freshmen and two sophomores.

"We're young, but they don't play young," said Ahearn.

Harclerode hit two doubles and had an RBI in his debut.

The Eagles' leading returning hitter, senior Steve Seh, contributed two hits and three RBIs.

River Hill starting pitcher Mike Clements deserved a better fate. In five innings he allowed four hits, struck out six, walked one and surrendered three runs - all unearned.

Centennial battered River Hill's relief pitching for four hits and six runs in the sixth inning.

The Hawks made six errors.

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