Sophomore center fielder Walter Hill singled in two runs, hit a three-run homer and scored three runs as No. 8 St. Paul's continued its surprising run through the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference with a 10-5 victory over No. 11 Gilman yesterday.
Coupled with No. 4 Mount St. Joseph's 14-10 loss to Loyola yesterday, the young Crusaders (12-3 overall), with only one senior starter, are 6-1 in conference play and lead St. Joe and Loyola (5-3 each) by two games in the loss column.
"We keep gaining confidence and momentum with each win, and that's brought us to where we are now, " said Hill, who also made a fine running catch in right-center field to take away an extra-base hit from Gilman's Scott Gehring.
Hill, one of eight underclassmen who start for the Crusaders, led off the home half of the first inning with a walk, stole second and came home on a long homer to left-center by junior designated hitter Brent Weiss to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
It was the fourth homer of the season for Weiss, all in the past three games. Also, freshman second baseman Tom Herrmann chipped in with two hits, including a double, and scored twice.
Gilman (5-5, 3-5) had taken a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Joey DeNardi off St. Paul's junior left-hander Brian Perkins. The Crusaders added four more runs in the second and three in the third on Hill's second homer of the season to stake Perkins to a 9-1 lead.
Perkins (4-0) was not as sharp as he was Friday in a five-hitter for a 3-2 win at Calvert Hall, and the five-day rest might not have agreed with him, but he got the job done.
Gilman got to Perkins for three runs in the fifth on three hits and two errors and added a single run in the sixth. Perkins gave up nine hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter on 111 pitches.
"We're playing really well because everybody is filling their roles really well, " said St. Paul's coach Paul Bernstorf, whose Crusaders' only loss was by 3-2 to Gavin Floyd and Mount St. Joseph a couple weeks ago; the two meet again Monday at the Mount.
"Brian [Perkins] throws a little better on shorter rest, but it was his turn in the rotation today."
Gilman's veteran coach, Marty Meloy, was impressed with St. Paul's.
"There's no powerhouse in the league, but St. Joe has the best pitcher [Floyd], and one good pitcher goes a long way, " he said.
"But St. Paul's is good, has some guys who can hit the ball, and I was impressed with their leadoff hitter [Hill). They have a lot of good things going for them."