Atholton's Bach stops Centennial on no-hitter

Left-hander strikes out 16, silences big-hitting Eagles

Baseball

High Schools

April 14, 2005|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Atholton left-hander Ed Bach was as impressive at the end as he was at the beginning.

Bach, throwing in the upper 80s, pitched a no-hitter and struck out 16 to defeat defending 3A state champion Centennial, 3-0, yesterday at Atholton.

To do so, he had to retire the middle of Centennial's lineup in the last inning, including Alex Bechta, Maryland-bound 2004 Howard County Player of the Year, Dan Shillingburg and Scott Swinson.

Tenth-ranked Centennial (6-2 overall, 5-2 league), the best-hitting team in Howard County, was averaging seven runs a game. The Eagles had hit four home runs (two by Shillingburg) in an earlier game against Glenelg and two home runs off River Hill ace David Walters.

The seventh inning started shakily, as Bechta led off and reached on an error. But Bach struck out Shillingburg looking. He retired Swinson on a pop-up to the first baseman. And he struck out Austin Harclerode looking.

Of 103 pitches, Bach threw 66 for strikes.

"He lived on the outside corner, threw a ton of strikes and beat us the way an elite pitcher should," said Centennial coach Denis Ahearn. "He has good ball movement and doesn't hurt himself at all."

Bach, who improved his record to 4-0 with two earned runs and 49 strikeouts in 27 innings for the No. 7 Raiders (5-2, 5-2), struck out 13 of the first 17 batters he faced, including six straight. He walked two.

"His fastball was really popping," said Atholton catcher Steve Creasy, who had an RBI double and bases-loaded walk. "He had extra mph on it today. This was his best game. He threw pretty much all fastballs and stayed around the plate."

Bach was so overpowering that all three Centennial batters in the sixth inning attempted to bunt. Only Ben Winters was able to lay one down, and he was thrown out by Bach.

"It was a big game against a good team, and I knew I'd have to hold them to a few runs," Bach said. "There was incentive for us to get a win over the state champ and to prove we're as good as anyone."

Centennial starting pitcher Swinson also pitched a strong game. Two of the three runs he allowed were unearned.

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