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Adenhart, 'Cats start perfectly

March 25, 2004|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

CUMBERLAND, Md. - In a sense, Nick Adenhart was just trying to pick up in 2004 where he left off in 2003.

That was pretty tough to do, though, especially if you consider the Williamsport right-hander pitched a no-hitter against Allegany only to lose 1-0 in the Maryland Class 1A West quarterfinals. How much better could he get?

Adenhart had the answer on Wednesday as he returned to Allegany to face the Campers once again. This time, with the help of his Wildcats teammates, he not only rediscovered the spot where he detoured, he went a step farther.

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This time, not only did Adenhart no-hit the Campers, he eliminated any margin for error by throwing a perfect game while Williamsport used fundamental offense to ring up a 9-0 victory in its season-opener, played at the Allegany Fairgrounds.

"I didn't request (the chance to pitch against Allegany)," Adenhart said, a little modestly. "It just kind of happened. I was a little up for this, but this was a good start for us. I felt good. I worked hard all winter and I'm just glad to see it all work out."

Adenhart, who is projected to be one of the top selections in June's Major League Baseball amateur draft, simply overpowered the Campers. He struck out 15 of the 21 batters he faced and only allowed one ball - a flyout in the sixth inning - to reach the outfield.

And he did it in full view of a dozen major-league scouts, who clocked his fastball at 91-95 mph. In all, Adenhart retired the Campers on 83 pitches, 60 going for strikes.

"I thought his location was good," Williamsport coach Rod Steiner said. "He knows his mechanics and he can make his adjustments. Dave Warrenfeltz, his catcher, did a great job behind the plate. He blocked one pitch for strike three that saved the perfect game."

Last May, Adenhart was on the short end when Aaron Laffey, who was drafted by Cleveland in the 16th round, shut down the Wildcats on two hits. Adenhart's wildness was his downfall as he hit Tim Lease with a pitch to open the second inning, which eventually led to an unearned run.

But Wednesday, Adenhart made sure there would be no repeats. He was in total control with no walks or hit batters while the Wildcats played flawlessly in the field, completing the only six opportunities they had in the game.

In his last two game against Allegany, Adenhart has allowed no runs or hits in 13 innings while striking out 29.

Adenhart started slowly, throwing 28 pitches in the first two innings. He only had 15 strikes and allowed three of the first four Allegany batters to reach full counts. But from the third inning on, Adenhart was dominating, throwing 45 strikes in his last 55 pitches.

"I was getting some pitches up early," Adenhart said. "I have the tendency to overstride. Coach told me to cut it down a little and things started to go better."

Adenhart was so overpowering, all three Campers batters in the sixth tried bunting for hits to break up the no-hitter.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats were methodical at the task of scoring runs. They got hits, moved runners and took advantage of three Allegany errors to score five unearned runs. Three of Williamsport's runs were driven in on sacrifice flies.

Leo Schill's run-scoring single in the second and flyout in the fourth drove in two of Williamsport's first three runs. Josh Bowers and Andy Taylor hit back-to-back doubles for the Wildcats' other fourth-inning run for a 3-0 lead.

Will Roney's sacrifice fly scored Phil Jordan, who reached on a double error by shortstop Hunter Files, in the fifth and Bowers walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch in the sixth for a 5-0 lead.

The Wildcats topped it off with four unearned runs in the seventh, capped by Roney's RBI single, Adenhart's flyout and Taylor's two-run double.

Warrenfeltz had two hits, while Taylor had two doubles and three RBI for Williamsport. Five of the Wildcats' eight hits were doubles.

"Last year, we didn't do a lot of that," Steiner said. "We did a lot of things that don't show up in the averages. This year, we will be solid from top to bottom."

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