Talk about a big day. Mount St. Joseph baseball coach Dave Norton sure had one yesterday.
Norton's No. 4 Gaels presented him his 400th career win by defeating host and No. 10 Cardinal Gibbons, 11-6, the same day that a former Gael made the big leagues.
The Texas Rangers announced yesterday that Severna Park resident and 1998 Mount St. Joseph graduate Mark Teixeira has made the 25-man roster and will start at third base Sunday in an ESPN-televised game.
Teixeira, a switch-hitting third baseman who was a two-time All-Metro pick and The Sun's Player of the Year in '98 before going on to become an All- American at Georgia Tech, is the first Norton-coached player to make it to the major leagues.
"That makes it even better [to hear Mark made it]," said Norton, who is in his 21st season at the school. "I've been fortunate to have great ballclubs and great kids and that's basically what it means. I tell the kids not to concentrate on records, but there are certain milestones that you make in your career that are big.
"This is a big one for me and I'll get the kids to sign a ball. And when I'm old sitting in a rocking chair, I'll pull it back out and say I remember when."
The coach will remember that his son, Joe Norton, a sophomore infielder, scored three runs as a courtesy runner in No. 400.
Senior left-hander Paul Santucci and junior Robert Penn combined on the mound for the Gaels (6-0).
"We didn't know it was 400 until now [after game], but that's big, real big," said Santucci, who was 3-for-3 with four RBIs.
Santucci, with a sharp breaking curve, pitched the first four innings, giving up five runs on five hits, three by Gibbons leadoff batter John Vincent.
Penn closed the final three innings. He retired the first five batters and gave up two hits and a run in the seventh.
Gibbons starter and loser Josh Thomas gave up eight hits and six runs in three innings before giving way to Steve Owens. Santucci's two-out, two-run double off Owens in the fourth proved to be a crucial blow.
"That was a real big hit," said coach Lee Schwarzenberg, whose Crusaders (4-2) had come back from a 6-1 deficit in the bottom of the third to make it a 6-4 game. "Their lineup is awesome, their top five is really tough to pitch around, but we got some runs against a powerhouse team."
Steve Clevenger and Robbie Burns had two doubles each for the Gaels.