Billy Whitecotton was the difference in Ferndale yesterday as 18th-ranked North County upset No. 5 Westminster, 6-0, in the Class 4A East quarterfinals.
The victory advanced the Knights (12-7) to a 1 p.m. semifinal game tomorrow at Arundel and ended the Owls' season at 13-6. Third-ranked Arundel eliminated Glen Burnie yesterday.
Throwing consistently in the mid-80 mph range, Whitecotton, a pro prospect, gave up just four hits, struck out 12 and walked one. The 6-foot-3 senior right-hander threw 111 pitches, 65 for strikes.
"It was probably his best game of the season. He was dynamite," said Knights coach Don Usewick.
Whitecotton (5-2) also doubled in the only two runs he needed in a four-run third inning. Catcher Scott Simering singled in the other two runs in the third off losing pitcher Nick Farver (5-1).
Chris Jackson's sacrifice fly and a single by Shaun King, who had two hits along with Mike Antlitz, brought in the other North County runs later.
"On the mound, what more can you say [about Whitecotton]?" said Westminster co-coach Scott Tobias. "He had good command of his fastball, and his curveball froze a lot of our hitters."
Probably the biggest curve he threw all day was to the Owls' Jesse Gist with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth. Leading 5-0, Whitecotton gave up two hits in one inning for the only time in the game and yielded his only walk.
Westminster's Scott Carnegie doubled and Brad Baker reached on an infield hit. Leadoff batter Adam Fisher walked to load the bases with two outs.
Gist worked the count to 3-2 with a couple Whitecotton pitches just missing.
Showing bold confidence in his breaking pitch, Whitecotton then broke off a nasty curve ball that Gist swung at and missed. The Owls' best hitter, junior center fielder Mike Taylor, who led the Carroll County league in hitting (.520), was left on deck.
"I felt really good today. The long break because of the weather helped me come out pretty fresh," said Whitecotton who has a half-scholarship to Shepherd (W.Va.) College.
Layoffs can work both ways. In this case, the time off because of the rainy weather helped Whitecotton but not Westminster.
"Other than one inning over a week ago, it's been over two weeks since Billy pitched," said Usewick.
By contrast, the Owls, who had won six in a row, lost their edge, said the other co-coach, Jim Rodriguez.
"I'm not making excuses, because it was the same for them. But it was a let-down, not playing for over a week while we were clicking," said Rodriguez.
Pub Date: 5/15/98