Baseball title pitch to depend on depth

8 games in last 2 weeks to test contenders' staffs

Moelter sisters are perfect


High Schools

April 27, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN SPORTS

Mount Hebron coach Matt Forsyth thinks that pitching depth will be the decisive factor in the county baseball championship race, because each of the three contenders are faced with at least eight games in the final two weeks of the regular season.

"My kids are excited because it looks like it will come down to who really has the best team, instead of which team has the best two starters like in past years," said Forsyth. "If there's a significant gap in quality between your No. 2 starter and your No. 3 starter, you could struggle. The team with depth will win. From what I hear, Centennial has the most pitching."

No. 12 Centennial (10-2 overall, 9-0 league) is the only undefeated team in county play. Glenelg (7-3, 6-1) is in second place and No. 10 Mount Hebron (10-2, 7-2) is in third.

The Eagles have two strong left-handed starters in Jonathan Dupski (4-1) and Todd Abicht (2-0) and two right-handers in Scott Swinson (2-0) and Kyle Murray (2-0). Brian Bauder, Justin Dowell and Tim Martin also have significant innings pitched.

"I have other pitchers that I haven't even tested yet," said Centennial coach Denis Ahearn.

Glenelg also stacks up well in pitching strength with right-handers Mike Corona (3-0) and Erik Hufnagel (2-0), and left-hander Jeff Dulaney (1-1). John Keravich (1-0) defeated Archbishop Spalding Saturday, allowing one run and five hits. And Jeremy Tosh is capable of pitching for the Gladiators, who have 10 games left - one of them a 1-1 suspended game with Centennial that will be completed Monday before a regularly scheduled game with the Eagles.

"Pitching, speed on the bases and defense have carried us so far," said Gladiators coach Tom Thrasher. "We've just started to hit."

Mount Hebron has used Jordan Moore (2-3) and Jonathan Raglin (3-0) as their main starters with Kevin Cooke (1-0) coming on strong as a third possible starter in the past two weeks. But the Vikings have a total of seven pitchers with at least one win, partly due to their strong offense that averages more than eight runs per game.

Centennial has shown the best overall balance of hitting and pitching. The Eagles are led by catcher Dan Schillingburg (.479, 10 RBIs), Steve Seh (.455, eight RBIs), Alex Bechta (.444, six RBIs) and Brian Heson (.486, five RBIs).

"We can produce runs with the best of them," said Ahearn. "`And we can win the 1-0 games. We've come from behind, won in the rain, won in 30-degree temperatures. We always find a way to win. And when we stub our toe and make a mistake, someone always makes up for it. We have great senior leadership and our young players have produced. We are a true team. We make each other better."

Mount Hebron is led offensively by Tony Cipro (.560, 11 RBIs) and Jordan Moore (.417, eight RBIs), and the Vikings have some power. Andrew Hoffner has three home runs and Jeff Carr has two.

Glenelg's Thrasher said that Seth Michael, John Tringali and John D'Angelo have been his most consistent hitters.

"A championship race doesn't get much better than this," said Forsyth. "It's fun to play the games and then it's fun to wake up in the morning and check out the other scores."

Perfect sisters

When Dulaney freshman Katie Moelter pitched a perfect game against Milford Mill Thursday, her big sister Sarah Moelter bragged about it to all her friends.

Then Sarah went out the next day and threw a perfect game at Dundalk.

"It was kind of cool that we got back-to-back perfect games," said Katie. "I know how hard it is to get just one."

Sarah, a sophomore, agreed their feat was rare.

"A perfect game means nobody reaches base, so even an error messes it up," she said. "My teammates really helped me, because there were some close plays, but they got the people out."

Sarah's perfect game came in a six-inning, 12-0 win over Dundalk and Katie's in a five-inning, 18-0 win over Milford Mill.

In their first season on varsity, the sisters, who have been pitching since they were 11 or 12 years old, stepped in after the Lions graduated two pitchers from a 2003 state Class 4A semifinalist team.

"They are very similar pitchers," said Dulaney softball coach Lori Ryan. "Their dad taught them to pitch, and he spends a lot of time with them. One thing that stands out in my mind is that very rarely do you see a wild pitch from either one."

Katie (4-0) has an ERA of 0.70 with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings. Sarah (3-2) has a 1.53 ERA and has struck out 29 batters in 32 innings.

Their efforts have helped No. 11 Dulaney to a 7-2 overall record. In Baltimore County's 4A/3A Division, the Lions are 6-1, having lost only to No. 8 Catonsville, the defending county champ.

Sun staff writer Katherine Dunn contributed to this article.

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