Make no mistake about it, Lansdowne coach Rich Griser knew what caused the 12th-ranked Vikings trouble yesterday.
"We gave them too many outs," said Griser. "We just made too many mistakes."
Brian Ash struck out nine and allowed only four hits in six innings for No. 6 Perry Hall, and mistakes and errors from visiting Lansdowne helped the Gators score all their runs in a 5-2 season-opening victory.
Most of the breaks in this Baltimore County 3A-4A game went for defending Class 4A state champion Perry Hall. Lansdowne made four errors and a few more mental mistakes that led to all five Perry Hall runs.
Perry Hall scored three runs in the second inning without a base hit or a ball being hit out of the infield. The Gators loaded the bases with one out, and Lansdowne errors on consecutive plays helped score the runners for a 3-0 lead.
The Gators finished the game with only three hits -- one of which was an infield single and the other two coming from Chris Ude -- and all five runs were unearned.
Lansdowne pitcher Tim Crough threw a strong game, going the distance and striking out four. But the mistakes and lack of clutch hitting did him and the Vikings in.
At the plate, the Vikings left 12 runners on base. They left the bases loaded twice and also stranded nine runners in scoring positions.
Ash struggled with his control much of the game, walking seven and hitting two. But when he was on, the Vikings were not as they didn't get a hit until the fourth and had only two heading into the sixth.
"I just didn't have the control I wanted to have," said Ash. "Other than the control, I was pleased with my performance."
The senior left-hander effectively mixed his changeup and fastball throughout the game. He also dropped down at times, often freezing left-handed hitters.
Lansdowne gave Ash trouble right away, as the game's first three batters reached to load the bases. But Ash escaped by retiring the next three.
The Vikings cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth when the brothers Crough had back-to-back RBI hits. Tim (single) broke up the Ash no-hit bid, and Tom (double) then sliced the lead to 3-2.
As Ash tired, Lansdowne kept threatening. Still trailing, 3-2, the Vikings loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth before Ash dropped down and struck out Mike Mullin with a fastball.
The Gators added two more in the bottom of the inning. Brian Smetana made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly, and Allen Batac used some alert base-running to score from second on Tom Trimble's infield single.