Warriors fight law, law wins

May 07, 2002|BY DAN SPEARS

THURMONT, Md. - Catoctin baseball coach Mike Franklin is a firm believer in the law of averages. After Monday night, No. 3 Boonsboro can only hope he's right.

For the first time in a month, the Cougars won a close game, rallying for four runs with two outs in the seventh and winning 5-4 in the ninth on Sam Kulceski's flare single into the twilight.

For Boonsboro, it's the third straight one-run loss in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League season that has turned into an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride.


"Everything was under control," Boonsboro coach Fred Krieger said. "But unfortunately in baseball, nothing is ever under control."

The Warriors did seemingly have this one in their pocket. Keith Kellinger's two-run homer in the fourth inning gave them a 4-0 lead, and pitcher Chris Henson was in the process of a gem, throwing no-hit ball for 6 1/3 innings.

"He was awesome, and we're snakebit," Kreiger said. "And we can't find the antivenom."

Because when Justus Yokum looped a single to left to break it up, everything changed for Catoctin (10-8, 10-6).

"We as coaches always tell them the glass is half full," Franklin said. "We tell them, and we've got to believe, that each one is the run that's going to make the difference."

Chris Legore's fielder's choice for the second out put the Cougars on the edge of a cliff, yet they stood there and enjoyed the view. Jason Johnson walked, Danny Novak singled on a 1-2 count to load the bases, and Jimmy Swanson walked on a full count to bust the shutout.

On an 0-2 pitch, pinch-hitter Chris Kaleo was plunked for another run, and T.J. Eiker's gapper to left tied the game and ended Henson's day.

Just six days before, Catoctin watched Walkersville erase a six-run deficit in the Lions' last at bat. Now the Cougars were pulling the same trick.

"I really do believe in the law of averages, and we've been on the other side so many times this year," Franklin said. "And it doesn't always seem fair when it's happening to you, but it's just what happens. I feel for Fred and those guys; (Henson) was outstanding today."

Both teams had good chances in extra innings, but great plays by the teams' center fielders - Boonsboro's Cody Hanes and Catoctin's Yokum - erased the threats.

In the bottom of the ninth, with darkness sure to suspend the game if still tied, Catoctin finished it. With two outs, Geoff Hillis singled up the middle, and advanced to third when T.J. Eiker's inning-ending grounder was thrown away.

It brought up Kulceski, whose slash-and-dash batting style hadn't worked all game. Until now.

Faking a bunt and choking up on the bat, he swung at the first offering and looped it behind the shorstop and in front of the left fielder, driving in Hillis with the winning run.

"I'd been hitting the ball, just right at people," Kulceski said. "Last time, they beat us in the close game. I figured it was our turn to pull one out."

Catoctin 5, No. 3 Boonsboro 4

Boonsboro 001300000-480

Catoctin 00000401-561

Henson, Fravel (7), Mitchell (9) and Himes. Eiker, Swanson (9) and Ausherman. WP-Swanson (2-2). LP-Mitchell (4-2). HR-B: Kellinger (4th, one on).

The Herald-Mail Articles