Again Sokolis leads Eastern to final, blanking Liberty

Class 2A state baseball semifinals

High Schools

May 26, 2004|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Gerard Sokolis pitched No. 15 Eastern Tech into the Class 2A state baseball final for a second straight year yesterday. This time, the crafty left-hander did it by scattering nine hits to stop No. 8 Liberty, 4-0, in the semifinals at Arundel.

Last season, Sokolis beat Southern of Anne Arundel County in the semifinals, also at Arundel High; the two could meet for the championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Joe Cannon Stadium.

No. 14 Southern was leading J.M. Bennett, 1-0, after three innings last night before the game was suspended because of thunderstorms. It will resume at 4 p.m. today at Arundel with the Eastern Shore's Bennett coming to bat in the top of the fourth.

Sokolis (8-1), who changes speeds with a fastball and three breaking pitches, struck out four and walked two on 94 pitches in defeating Liberty (18-4). The Mavericks (19-5) scored twice in the first on singles by Ryan Rivers and Josh Kempa, and Sokolis stranded eight Lions.

"We ran ourselves out of a scoring opportunity in the second inning," said Liberty coach Eric Barnes. "We hit the ball, but didn't score runs. Hats off to their pitcher, especially for getting out of the sixth inning."

Liberty loaded the bases with none out in the sixth on singles by Matt Anuszewski, Josh Vittek and Brett Caplan (3-for-3).

Sokolis got Rob Mathias to ground to third baseman Sam Ashton, who started a home-to-first double play, and then Mike Litz flied out.

"I was a little nervous in that inning, but felt like I could pitch out of it," said Sokolis. "I kept them off-balance most of the game with my curveballs and this year I have more velocity and movement on my fastball."

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