Faced with the prospect of playing four games this week because of rainouts, Westminster baseball coach Jim Rodriguez called on reliever Sam Chamelin to take the mound yesterday against host South Carroll for an emergency spot start.
It was a reluctant move that paid off handsomely for Rodriguez and the Owls.
Making just his second career start, the left-hander went the distance, allowing eight hits and two earned runs while striking out five in a 7-3 win.
"He's really a relief guy for me, but due to the fact that we have four games this week, I said, 'Hey, you may have to go and see what you can give me,' " said Rodriguez. "And, wow, the kid gave me more than just a few [innings]. He gave me the whole thing."
It was quite a bit more than the Owls (2-0) had gotten in Chamelin's previous start, last year against Linganore. In that game, Chamelin allowed six runs in the opening inning before feeling his elbow "pop" in the second, forcing him out.
"I was real anxious to get back on the mound and see how I was going to do," said the senior, who threw primarily fastballs. "I kept trying to get the curve down, but it wouldn't stay down.
"I just went for the fastball and hit spots. I told my teammates, 'I'm going to get the ground balls. If you field them and throw them out, we'll win the game.' "
Westminster did just that, recording 10 ground-ball outs in the first five innings.
Offensively, the Owls gave him all the support he would need in the first inning, scoring four runs on four hits, including an RBI single by Rafe Bridges and a two-run single by Jason Jarrett.
But Westminster continued to jolt Cavaliers starter Billy Perna, scoring three more times in the fourth, including two runs off RBI singles by Ryan Baer and Jesse Alvarez.
"This was [Perna's] first start, and we found out he didn't warm up enough," said South Carroll coach George Richardson. "After the first inning, he pitched great, but he just didn't warm up enough. We found something out today, and that's what you hope for -- to find something out."
South Carroll (2-3) cut into the lead with two runs in the fifth, courtesy of a two-run single by No. 9 hitter Nick Kraus, but had its rally cut short when Chamelin struck out Ron Abigill looking.