The Calvert Hall offense recently has gone stale at crunch time.
However, the hosts' bats awakened at the right time yesterday, as No. 4 Calvert Hall (13-7, 5-2) defeated No. 2 Mount St. Joseph, 6-3, in an important MIAA A Conference game that was called with two outs in the top of seventh after Gaels coach Dave Norton was thrown out for arguing.
Left-hander Shane Rhodes, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top half of the fourth inning, pitched a complete game for the victory, allowing six hits and striking out six.
Meanwhile, Ryan Baker, the Gaels' starting pitcher, struggled throughout. Despite allowing just four hits after the second inning, Baker was hurt by six walks and four errors by Mount St. Joseph (17-4, 5-1).
With the score tied at 1 in the fourth, Rhodes helped his own cause with an RBI double to the gap in left-center, scoring Ryan Tolson, who walked to start the inning, to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish. Rhodes later scored on an error by Gaels' first baseman Mark Teixeira, pushing Calvert Hall's lead to 3-1.
"I just went up to the plate knowing that a hit would only help myself," said Rhodes, who is second in the Metro area with 50 strikeouts in 38 innings.
"We've struggled a bit lately and, at times, it seemed things weren't going our way," said Cardinals' coach Joe Binder. "But we got some timely hits and it was nice to see. Hopefully this will get us going."
An opposite-field, two-run homer by Matt Waldt in the fifth increased Calvert Hall's lead to 5-1, then Dale Berkey added an insurance run with a home run to center in the sixth.
"Those runs were definitely a big burden off my shoulders and it pumped the team up," said Rhodes.
With the lead, it was then Rhodes' game to win and the senior retired six of the next seven batters before Mount St. Joseph made things interesting in its last at-bat.
Matt Martin led off the Gaels' seventh with a double to center. After a walk to Matt Gribbin, Daniel Rosewag singled home Martin to get Mount St. Joseph to within 5-2, with no outs. But Mike Couser grounded out to short and Matt O'Donnell's sharply hit grounder to third eventually ended the game, as he was called out on a close call at first. The play was argued so angrily by Norton that the first base umpire called the game.
Mount St. Joseph used a double by O'Donnell and a sacrifice fly by Kyle Skinner to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first.
The Cardinals tied the game at 1 in the third on a sacrifice fly by Berkey and threatened for more after Baker loaded the bases with three consecutive two-out walks. But the Cardinals stalled as Waldt struck out to end the inning.
Pub Date: 4/25/96