One of Hammond's top hitters ended a slump yesterday, but another cooled off.
Two home runs by Jason Maxey and four innings of one-hit pitching by Hammond starter Jeff Miller sparked the Bears to a 10-6 victory over visiting River Hill.
But Brian Brewer's string of homers in six consecutive games for Hammond -- the nation's fifth longest streak -- ended when he went 0-for-3 with a walk.
"I tried not to think about the streak," Brewer said. "But it was hard not to." The national record is nine games, held by two players. Two more players hit in seven straight.
Maxey connected for a three-run shot in the second inning and a two-run homer in the fourth inning, as the Bears jumped on top 10-0 after four innings. They were the first home runs this season for Maxey, who hit 11 last season.
"I had been hitting a lot of ground balls, but after the Howard game, I adjusted my batting stance by spreading my feet wider, and since then I've been getting elevation," Maxey said.
Miller struck out five batters and walked four, in addition to allowing one hit, to gain a victory that kept the No. 13-ranked Bears (5-2 overall and league) within one game of first-place Centennial. It was their fourth straight win.
In the fifth inning, River Hill (3-4 overall and league) roughed up Hammond relief pitcher Chris Breedlove for five runs on three hits, featuring a three-run homer by Jesse Pickett, his third of the season.
Sid Abel gave up a run in relief in the sixth inning on a hit batter and a sacrifice fly. But Brewer, the Hammond closer, shut down River Hill in the seventh on just five pitches.
"I was proud of the way we came back, but we just don't seem to think we can win against the better teams," Hawks coach Rick Lloyd said.
Lloyd may have found a starting pitcher. Jack Campbell, a senior who was pitching in just his second high school game, relieved starter Brad Kimball with one out in the second inning and finished the game by allowing just three hits and striking out five batters. He gave up two earned runs.
"He [Campbell] was throwing a nasty slider," Brewer said. "He was throwing his fastball inside to set up his slider away."
Kevin Schawrtz reached base four times for Hammond on a two-run double, a walk and two errors. Jason Harriman, Peter Heffron and Pat Fields each reached base three times. Heffron had an RBI single.