Sparrows Point senior catcher Logan Wallace went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and the visiting Pointers broke open a tie game with six runs in the seventh inning and held on for a 10-7 victory over Catonsville.
Wallace’s first at-bat indicated he might be ready for a big day at the plate when he drilled a deep drive to left-center field that was flagged down for a tough catch by Catonsville center fielder Tommy Bolster.
“As soon as that happened I was just like, ‘I’m on the ball today,’” Wallace said. “I felt like I saw the ball good today and my swing felt great.”
He hit an RBI single in the third, an inning in which the Pointers scored four runs to tie the game at 4. Wallace also had a two-run double to highlight the six-run seventh.
That big inning came after the Pointers left 14 runners on base in the first six innings.
“We needed to put the ball in play,” Wallace said. “We needed to find holes and we needed to stop leaving runners on base.”
“At the beginning of the year, he was struggling and he’s been working really hard and we’ve been working really hard on keeping his hands back and when he does stay back, he hits the ball like that,” Sparrows Point coach Marc Kline said. “So that’s the key to him is staying back and waiting for the pitch and he’s got great bat speed.”
Catonsville pitchers hit five batters in the first six innings, including starting pitcher Jacob Samsel three times. They also walked three and allowed eight hits, but left-handed relievers Josh Ratliffe and Ryan Gower did a solid job stranding runners.
“Those two lefties I brought in are usually the guys I bring in stressful situations and they did a nice job today,” Catonsville coach Eric Warm said.
But in the decisive seventh inning, the Pointers took advantage of sloppy defense. Gabe Todd reached base when an outfielder slipped and he scored the go-ahead run on a pair of wild pitches. Ryan Zickefoose reached on an error and Austin Shifflet walked before an RBI single by Samsel.
Wallace added a two-run double to left-center field and Ray Faulk had a run-scoring single. Todd drew a bases-loaded walk to plate the final run.
“You can’t drop fly balls and line drives and expect to win a close game like that,” Warm said.
Catonsville rallied with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Walks to Roy Brown and Nazir Buckson sandwiched a single by Blake Kolarek (2-for-4) to load the bases. Cam Turner had a pinch-hit single and Tommy Bolster delivered a two-run single before relief pitcher Zickefoose retired the final batter for his third strikeout in two innings.
“[Zickefoose] is one of our best athletes and he’s batting .700 this year and he’s tired,” Kline said.
Catonsville has a hot hitter as well in junior catcher Dan Lauer, who belted his first homer of the season in the first inning to drive in Bolster (3-for-4), who doubled with one out.
“Dan has been hitting very well lately,” Warm said. “He had 13 walks coming into the game and he hasn’t really had an opportunity to put the bat on the ball, but the last few games he’s been getting strikes and he’s been taking advantage of it.”
“Ever since we played Western earlier in the year I’ve been seeing the ball well and I’ve been taking walks,” Lauer said. “In batting practice today, I felt good and hit one [over the fence] in the same spot.”
The Comets took a 3-0 lead on a run-scoring single by Kolarek and added another run on an RBI single by Lauer in the second, but that was all the damage they could do until the seventh inning.
“We just made too many mistakes, you can’t win a varsity game when you make that many mistakes,” said Warm, whose 5-5 squad had defeated Hereford and Kenwood earlier in the week.
Kline said he wasn’t concerned with his team’s early deficit.
“I program these guys to play adversity all year,” he said. “At the beginning of the year, that’s all I’ve been preaching and today was one of those games where we came out, walked some guys, got in a little bit of trouble, went down, 4-0, and then the adversity is there.”
Sparrows Point improved to 6-4 with its third win of the week. The Pointers scored 55 runs on 51 hits in those victories.
“We started off rough,” Wallace said. “We started out with a lot of fielding problems and we just worked on that and then we got better at that and we’ve been hitting the ball great all year.”