Glenelg topples River Hill, 4-1

Corona rides new curve to four-hitter, victory


High Schools

April 29, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Glenelg pitcher Mike Corona's mental toughness was tested in multiple ways during yesterday's game against visiting River Hill.

With the No. 8-ranked Gladiators trailing Centennial by just a half-game in the Howard County league and the season winding through its final two weeks overloaded with make-up games, every game takes on added importance. The extra games and close race puts intense pressure on pitchers such as Corona.

The senior right-hander threw a four-hitter, struck out five and didn't walk a batter during his six-inning effort against the Hawks. And John Keravich picked up the save by pitching a scoreless seventh inning in the 4-1 victory.

Corona, now 4-0, also had to overcome the memory of having made two errors at second base, nearly costing the Gladiators a victory against Hammond the previous day. Glenelg (9-3 overall, 9-1 league) eventually won that game in the eighth inning on Jeremy Tosh's home run.

Adding to Corona's challenge to stay focused were some extremely boisterous fans in the stands behind home plate.

"They made it hard to concentrate, but that was a good thing that will help me later on," said Corona.

In previous games, Corona's dominant pitches were his fastball and changeup, but against River Hill, he found an effective curveball that he consistently threw for strikes.

"It's good to get another pitch," said Corona. "You can get most people out with a curve."

Catcher Nick Madiou of River Hill (8-6, 7-5) was impressed by Corona's effort.

"He used his curveball to get ahead," said Madiou. "His fastball was not as good as usual, but when you also have a curve and changeup, you have a lot of weapons."

Glenelg coach Tom Thrasher said that Corona didn't have his best stuff but that he mixed his pitches well.

"River Hill can hit, but they hit some balls right at people, same as we did," said Thrasher. "A big factor for us was that our No. 8 and No. 9 hitters did well."

Roger Leonhart, batting ninth, hit an RBI single in a two-run third inning. And Mike Zajac, batting eighth, had two singles, one leading off that started a third-inning rally. Zajac's hit in the fifth inning also helped produce a run.

Tim Siders, who doubled in the third inning, tied the score at 1-1 in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Corona. Siders had used his speed to beat out an error, stole second base and went to third on a wild pitch.

Glenelg scored its fourth run on a wild pitch with Siders at bat in the fifth inning.

"It was a poor effort for us," said Hawks coach Rick Lloyd, whose team routed Long Reach, 15-1, the previous day. "We were sleepwalking."

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