Fallston rebounds, routs N. Harford, 13-3

After two tough games, Dimpfel's 3-run HR lifts Cougars in 5-inning win


High Schools

April 20, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Needing to stay within striking distance of C. Milton Wright in the top division of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference, the Fallston baseball team probably would have been satisfied with any kind of effort that resulted in a victory against North Harford.

But the Cougars, fresh off a confidence-shaking loss to C. Milton Wright and a surprisingly difficult one-run victory over Edgewood a day later, admitted that they needed a dominating, complete performance, and they got that yesterday.

Tenth-ranked Fallston pounded out 13 hits, highlighted by Fred Dimpfel's three-run home run in the second inning, in downing the visiting Hawks, 13-3, in a game that ended in five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

"We've lost a couple of big games and it was important for us to play well and win a big game," said Cougars coach Mark Puckett, whose team improved to 10-2 overall, 4-2 in the league. "We got a complete effort today. We had good pitching, we played solid defense and we hit the ball and that's a real solid combination."

Cougars right-hander Brandon Hart scattered three hits and seven walks over 4 2/3 innings to get the victory, which avenged a 6-5 loss to the Hawks (5-4, 2-4) last month.

Hart struck out six and worked out of trouble in the first and fourth innings, while junior Chris Merrick recorded the final out in the fifth.

"I was definitely determined to make sure that they didn't get the best of me this time," said Hart, who was on the mound when the Hawks scored the winning run in the teams' last meeting. "I think they're a very good team, but our offense was huge today. And that home run really set the tone."

Dimpfel's three-run shot off Hawks left-handed starter Jake Brown sailed above the 336-foot sign in center field, capping a four-run second inning -- all runs scored with two outs -- and breaking open a 1-1 game.

"Really, I just wanted to put the ball in play, but in my mind, I felt like I needed to do something big," said Dimpfel, a senior outfielder.

Fallston added four more in the third. Junior Tom Cervino drove in two runs and chased Brown with a single, and Cougars catcher Matt Milburn greeted Hawks reliever Josh Schell with a two-run double off the left-center-field fence to give Fallston a 9-1 lead.

Cervino, Eric Reedy, Andrew Tress, Ryan Kent, Scott Tolliver and Brian Tardif had two hits each for Fallston, which scored four in the fifth to put the 10-run mercy rule in effect.

"This was a huge game," said Dimpfel. "We needed to get our confidence back and get a spark for the rest of the season."

No. 9 Mount Hebron 15: Hammond 10: Kevin Cooke of Mount Hebron found a new superstition yesterday.

The junior right-hander got his first chance to pitch this season, but he had one slight problem -- he forgot his belt.

He battled past it, however, repeatedly tucking in his shirttail while pitching 3 2/3 innings in relief and allowing one run and three hits against host Hammond.

Cooke picked up the victory, as the No. 9 Vikings rallied from a six-run deficit to win, 15-10.

"I don't think I'm ever wearing a belt again," said the superstitious three-sport athlete, who relied mainly on fastballs with an occasional changeup and curveball mixed in.

Cooke was upset before the game because the Vikings' "lucky" bus driver didn't drive them to yesterday's game.

"We had the same guy drive us to our first seven games and we won all seven," Cooke said. "Then he didn't drive us to our eighth game and we lost."

Mount Hebron's hitting probably had more to do with the victory than superstitions.

The Vikings (9-1, 6-1 Howard County) pounded 12 hits, including a three-run home run and an RBI single by Andrew Hoffner, a two-run double and an RBI single by Jeff Carr, and a two-run single and a one-run single by Cooke. Tony Cipro also hit a two-run single against Hammond (4-4, 3-3).

Sun staff writer Rick Belz contributed to this article.

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