The Westminster Owls are back at it already.
What had the makings of a solid, season-opening win against visiting Centennial yesterday afternoon turned into another one of those last-inning, come-from-behind wins that was so common from the Owls last season.
After seeing No. 10 Centennial put up five in the top of the seventh to take a two-run lead, the No. 6 Owls came back with three of their own in the bottom of the inning to post a 7-6 win.
Brian Tozer's single up the middle skipped past Jeff Martin in center to score Denny Bowers with the winning run.
The Eagles committed four errors in the inning to allow the three runs. Eight times last season, the Owls came from behind to win one-run games in the seventh or later.
"We're on track where we were last year," said Westminster co-coach Carl Rihard, who would have preferred a more conventional win. "We picked up right where we left off."
The Owls had a 4-1 lead going into the seventh inning when left-hander Chris Cash replaced starter Mike Peters for the Owls.
A couple of walks and a bloop single to center from Eagles shortstop Dan Adler helped load the bases and bring back Peters, who had moved to right field to start the seventh.
Adam Chambers lined a single between short and third to score two and Jeff Martin followed with his second double of the afternoon, a liner past short to the left-center gap, to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead.
John Woods scored Martin with a single to center, which brought back Cash, who settled down to get two strikeouts, end the inning and get the win.
"We wanted Mike to get around 60 pitches in and also wanted to get Chris some work in," Rihard said. "Chris just couldn't throw strikes at first and then it was a bad idea to bring Mike back in, but he was the only warm guy we had."
Aside from a rough seventh, Centennial coach Ron Martin said it wasn't that bad of a first game. He got five solid innings out of the left-handed Chambers and reliever Bill Howley did all he could in the sixth and seventh. Jeff Martin had a good day at the plate with three hits and three RBIs and the offense didn't quit with the seventh-inning rally.
Ron Martin had learned earlier in the day that his starting shortstop, Denny Chapman, was walking with crutches with a bad leg, forcing the Eagles to play some players out of position.
"We would have loved to win this one," Ron Martin said. "We knew these guys were ranked pretty high and I felt we held in with them pretty well. I told our guys if we're going to lose one like this, it might as well be a non-conference game."
The Owls had taken a 1-0 lead in the first when Bowers hit a two-out triple to right to score shortstop Steve Hahn. Centennial got even in the third when Chambers hit a two-out triple and scored on a single from Jeff Martin.
In the Westminster fourth, Chris Mathias singled with one out, stole second and scored on a Tony Steigerwald single to right.
Steigerwald took third on a throwing error from Chambers and scored on a wild pitch.
Westminster added another run in the fifth to make it 4-1 when Bowers hit a run-scoring single past short to score Peters.
Pub Date: 3/26/96