Moffa gets defensive, leads Eastern Tech past Franklin, 7-3

Outfielder's diving catch in fifth is the difference for 12th-ranked Mavericks

Baseball

High Schools

April 08, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

The score was tied in the bottom of the fifth inning when Eastern Tech center fielder Bryan Moffa literally stole the show.

The senior's diving catch robbed Franklin's Jason Dahne of what appeared to be a two-run hit for the lead.

Moffa's catch started a double play that quelled a potential rally by the Indians and sparked the 12th-ranked Mavericks to a 7-3 non-divisional Baltimore County victory.

The Mavericks led 5-3 after a two-run double by senior right fielder Kenny Miller (3-for-4, four RBIs) in the sixth inning. Junior catcher Doug Kottraba (2-for-3, double) knocked in two more runs in the seventh as the Mavericks improved to 5-1.

The Mavericks, last year's Class 2A state runners-up, tagged Franklin's Matt Morris (2-1) for seven of their 10 hits, but it was Moffa, with only one hit, who "took the wind out of our sails," according to Franklin coach Larry Meekins.

"That kid [Moffa] made a professional catch on that ball," said Meekins. "We kind of rolled over and played dead after that."

The blow came with no outs and Franklin's Kyle Campbell (2-for-3, one RBI) on second base. Dahne blasted a shot deep into the gap between center and right.

Already headed for third base, Campbell failed to notice an airborne Moffa leaping and reaching to his left to snatch the ball an instant before it hit the ground.

"I saw the ball coming fast, low and tailing away," said Moffa. "I didn't think I was going to get it at first, but I thought, `If I don't, they get two runs.' I just ran, [dived] and hoped it would go in my glove. Luckily, it did."

Said Meekins: "With the ball tailing away from him like it was, I'm thinking, `There's no way he's catching that.' Next thing I know, he comes up with it."

The Mavericks senior then rose from his prone position in the grass and fired the ball to second baseman Jonathan Wright for the double play. Franklin's Danny Pichardo popped up to Wright for the final out of the inning.

Mavericks left-hander Gerard Sokolis notched his third win without a loss, striking out seven, walking one and yielding six hits.

The Mavericks' Vince Stella went 2-for-3 with a double and scored three times. Mitch Troyer also doubled in a run for the Mavericks, who handed Franklin its first loss in five outings.

"We got down 1-0 in the first inning. It was a rough start," said Mavericks coach Spike McElfish. "But Bryan completely changed the game."

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