The unbeaten Westminster Owls continue to make baseball look easy this spring.
Yesterday, the 13th-ranked Owls (6-0) waltzed past North Carroll, 13-2, in the Carroll County league opener for both teams at North Carroll.
Westminster has used clutch hitting, superb pitching, strong defense and an occasional display of power hitting to outscore six opponents, 60-17.
This time it was the Panthers who were victims of the all-around excellence of the Owls, who bolted to an 8-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings.
Three of those eight runs came on solo home runs by designated hitter Denny Bowers, starting pitcher Mike Peters and ninth-place hitter Steve Shipley.
That was all the runs Peters and Ryan Starliper needed to turn back the 20th-ranked Panthers (3-3).
Peters was superb for the second time this week and held a 13-2 lead going into the last of the seventh when Westminster co-coach Carl Rihard brought in Starliper.
Peters, who was 4-for-5 with two doubles, the home run and three RBIs, had shut down North Carroll on four hits, seven strikeouts and one walk.
With a little luck, the junior right-hander (4-0) could have been pitching a shutout through six innings.
One North Carroll run scored as a result of two errors, and the other came on a sacrifice fly by Mike Huller that drove in Jason Brezler, who had tripled to right on a ball that might have been caught if right fielder Andy Marsiglia had not slipped and fallen to the turf in the fourth inning.
"I was getting stronger as the game went on," said Peters. "It was a big game, and I wanted to stay out there the whole game. But by coming out, it gives other pitchers a chance."
In a 9-1 victory over Thomas Johnson on Monday, Peters was taken out after pitching five innings of two-hit shutout baseball. Marsiglia pitched the final two innings of that game.
"We're making a statement by getting off to this surprising start," said Peters. "We were the underdogs this season in the county to North Carroll and South Carroll."
Rihard said of his decision to lift Peters: "He had thrown enough. It's still early in the season and I don't want him to overdo it. I had hoped to bring Andy Marsiglia in, but he had to leave early today because his grandmother died."
Westminster co-coach Guy Stull said: "We're swinging the bat well, Mike [Peters] is giving us good innings and we have nine guys in the lineup who are making good contact. We don't have an easy out. But we have not been tested by a real strong pitcher yet."
The Owls missed facing North Carroll's pro prospect Mike Huller, who pitched Thursday and beat Frederick, 10-4.
Panthers starter Barrett Gugliotta lasted to the fourth inning.
The victory gave Westminster a 3-0 record in the Central Maryland Conference and a 1-0 mark in the county. North Carroll fell to 1-2 in the CMC and 0-1 in the county.
North Carroll coach Denny Snyder said: "They hit three balls out of the park and there is no defense for that. They attack the ball well and get big hits. Also, Peters pitched a great game."