Yesterday was the day for area baseball powers Glen Burnie and Mount Saint Joseph to take the stage. It was unranked Archbishop Curley that stole the show, however, beating both in consecutive games to take the Jack Conley Tournament at Mount Saint Joseph.
The Friars, who lost 14 of 18 players from last year's team to graduation, broke out of a hitting slump to defeat the host and second-ranked Gaels, 17-7, in the opener, and then the No. 11 Gophers, 10-7 in the next game.
"We've been struggling with the bat recently, and now we've started to hit and its caught on," said Curley coach Al Frank. "We have a young team and I'm a little surprised to say the least."
The two victories raised the Friars' record to 4-1, and yesterday's win was the second time Curley has beaten the No. 2 Gaels this season.
"We have a great bunch of kids, and I just hope they can keep their heads on straight," said Frank. "I tell them they're not world beaters yet, but we just need to keep maturing."
Mount St. Joseph coach Dave Norton used the opening game loss as motivation for his team.
"I wasn't pleased with how we played in the first game, so I told them that we were going to stay and practice after the second game if I didn't see improvement."
He needn't have worried.
The Gaels got a well-pitched game by sophomore Joe Peeler, and scored four runs each in the third and fourth innings to defeat Glen Burnie, 13-3, in the nightcap.
"We've been looking for a No. 3 starter, and I asked them who wanted it," said Norton. "By his [Peeler's] effort, he told me he wanted to be that starter. That's what I wanted to see."
Peeler finished with seven strikeouts, and only gave up six hits to the Gophers.
It also helped his cause that the Gaels pounded four home runs, two with the bases empty and two with one man on.
"[The players] were upset with how we played in the first game," said Norton. "We just didn't do the things that a Mount Saint Joseph baseball team is supposed to do."
The hitting star for the Gaels in the nightcap was senior Zack Kuehne, who finished with five RBIs, a home run, a double and a single.
"We came back with a vengeance in the last game," said Kuehne. "We get into slumps sometimes, but we "We came back with a vengeance in the last game." Zack Kuehne, Mount St. Joe usually come out of it all right. We lost by 10, and then we came back to win by 10.
The win avenges the Gaels' 2-1 loss at Glen Burnie (4-2) last week.
The Gaels (11-3) took control yesterday in the third inning.
Leadoff hitter Allen Strick opened with a homer, and Gavin Floyd followed with another. After hitting a batter, Glen Burnie pitcher Collin Bednar served up another homer to Kuehne which made it 5-1. Glen Burnie mounted a rally in the fourth, using a Jeffrey Kellner home run to cut the lead to 5-3, but that was as close as it would get.
"We were trying to get all of our players some playing time, and it got out of hand," said Glen Burnie coach Bruce Sider. "I don't want to take anything away from Curley and Mount Saint Joe, but maybe the losses will be a wake up for us.
"We hit the ball well but we didn't have the pitching. We hung with them [Mount St. Joe] for a while but then the pitching ran out."