Eastern Tech warms to task, upends Arundel

The Baltimore Sun

The one thing cold weather can't hide is good pitching. Low temperatures and a bit of wind-chill can hide good hitting, which will come out later with the warm weather.

But good pitching is all-weather and it was there yesterday, with visiting Eastern Tech's proving a little better as the No. 5 Mavericks upset top-ranked Arundel, 4-0.

Ryan Rivers, a 6-foot-4 senior right-hander headed to North Carolina-Charlotte, worked four strong innings and left-hander Josh Kempa threw the last three as the two combined for a six-hit shutout of the Wildcats in the season opener for both teams.

The Mavericks turned two double plays, one behind each pitcher.

Kempa had a two-run double to right-center to highlight a three-run first inning off Arundel starter and loser Tyler Hibbs, who threw 75 pitches in five innings, giving up three hits, walking the first two batters he faced and striking out nine.

Catcher Mike Cellini's fielder's choice scored Kempa with the third run and Cellini homered in the sixth off Shawn Pleffner.

Hibbs was The Sun's All-Metro Baseball Player of the Year as a sophomore last year, leading the Wildcats to a Maryland-record 10th state title. He lost only one game last season, going 13-1, including a 3-2 win over Eastern Tech in the 2006 season opener for both.

"As the game went on, Hibbs got into some kind of rhythm after simply throwing and not pitching early on," said Arundel coach Bernie Walter, starting his 34th season.

"They've got some pretty strong kids and decent players and Rivers threw the ball good, but I thought we should have made better contact."

In his four innings, Rivers threw 54 pitches, He allowed five hits, struck out four and walked two. Kempa gave up one hit, one walk and had a strikeout in his three innings.

"My fastball wasn't as effective as I wanted it to be, but it was a little colder," Rivers said.

"But I utilized my changeup and curve ball, inside/outside and the biggest thing was getting ahead, first-pitch strike and work from there and get groundouts.

Of the 12 outs Rivers recorded in his four innings, seven were groundouts.

"I love to play Bernie because it gives us a good test to see what we will be looking forward to hopefully in a couple months [state playoffs]," Tech coach Spike McElfish said.


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