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Cougars make Gaels pay

March 20, 2003|By DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. -- On a cold and blustery opening night at Sager Field, St. Maria Goretti's baseball team gave up a five-run lead with its gloves almost as fast as the Gaels got it with their bats.

Goretti scored five runs on six singles in the top of the first inning, but committed 12 errors, including nine in the final two innings of a five-inning 15-5 loss to Jefferson on Wednesday night.

"We struggled defensively, and we made both Sean (Engle) and Zach (Light) throw too many pitches," Gaels coach Mike Brashears said. "You can't give an excellent team like that extra outs."

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Prior to Wednesday, Goretti (0-1) had played only four innings of baseball, which happened in a scrimmage Monday. The Gaels have taken to parking lots and the Gael Center for much of their practice time.

"It's hard to simulate game conditions in a gym," Brashears said.

But Goretti came out swinging against Cougars starter Terry Mumaw. Paul Angello led off the game with a soft liner to right, Paul Dorsey followed with a grounder through the hole at short, and Engle followed with a perfectly-placed bunt single down the first-base line to load the bases.

Mason Herman drove in Angello and Dorsey with a single to center, Corey Dorsey followed two batters later with a infield single to load the bases again, and Light drove in Engle and Herman with a base hit before Rich Kennon's safety squeeze scored Corey Dorsey for a 5-0 lead.

"To Goretti's credit, they put the ball in play and strung together some hits," Jefferson coach John Lowery said.

But Mumaw settled down after that, allowing just two more hits while working through the fourth inning to earn the win for Jefferson (1-0). Mumaw did not allow the leadoff batter to reach base in innings two through four, and he struck out six.

"He warmed up (before the game) and then they came in and sat down for 5-10 minutes, and that's not the best thing to do on a night like this," Lowery said. "His breaking pitch started to bite a little better, and when you get the first out of an inning, it's much easier."

The Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the first on David Pugh's RBI single and an error, and added a run in the third when Pugh singled and later scored.

Jefferson ran away -- with the help of Goretti's mistakes -- scoring six runs in each of the last two innings. Juwaan Holmes had a two-run single and Paul Kozcera, David Smith, Pugh, Kozak and Corie Gustines all drove in runs in the fourth. Jefferson used five Gaels errors and two hits to close the game in the fifth.

"I was pleased with the way we swung the bats," Lowery said.

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