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April 1, 2010

Blazers fall to Walter Johnson for second time

by Jewel Galbraith, Print Managing Features Editor
BLAZER FIELD, March 31

Baseball lost its second game against Walter Johnson this season 9 - 5, due to isolated Blair mistakes and a skilled Walter Johnson team. The Blazers started the game with a 3 - 3 tie, but could not outplay the Wildcats' powerful lineup.

In their first game against Walter Johnson, Blair lost 11 - 9 after leading for the first five innings. While they had no such lead in this game, the Blazers did similarly well at the beginning, only to succumb to the practiced Walter Johnson in the fifth inning.

Blair executed successful offensive plays to stay competitive through the fourth inning, but Walter Johnson asserted its dominance toward the end of the game, shutting out Blair by scoring run after run. The Wildcats' strong hitting and talented pitcher were a tough match for Blair batters, and the Blazers' fielding and pitching slip-ups solidified the Wildcat win.

Blair's five runs were an impressive feat against the Walter Johnson team. At the bottom of the second inning, junior Gabe Resstack's deep hit into the outfield batted in two runners. Another hit to left field by senior Elliot Meyerson led to two more runs. Walter Johnson's first pitcher also walked a surprising number of batters; he hit three players with the ball in the second inning alone.

Between senior pitcher Sammy Denenberg and junior pitcher Evan Epps, Blair also walked several players, which was a contributing factor in the team's defensive problems, said Epps. However, Blair did have some successes in the field and on the mound. Head coach John MacDonald recognized junior Britton Smith for his relief pitching in the sixth and seventh innings, during which he gave up only one run.

The Blazers also executed several important defensive plays on the field skillful fielding by junior third baseman Ben Buchholz and senior first baseman Ben Hukill prevented the Wildcats from advancing to first base multiple times. But other fielding mistakes were a large part of Blair's inability to keep Walter Johnson at bay; missed balls in the infield and outfield allowed the Wildcats to bring many players around home plate.

Walter Johnson's second pitcher also kept Blair from a win by striking out numerous players and preventing them from executing solid hits. Epps believed these batting difficulties hurt the team. "We didn't put the ball into play when we needed to," he said.

MacDonald also hoped to see better offensive play. He noted that the team had averaged eight runs per game so far this season and said he would like to see that number increase in upcoming games.

Although MacDonald was happy with the start to the game, he acknowledged that Walter Johnson simply outplayed Blair for the rest of the time. Due to fielding mistakes, a base running error and the failure to match Walter Johnson's pitching, Blair did not play a winning game. "I felt like we made too many mistakes to beat a good team like that," MacDonald said.

Baseball plays its next home game against Wootton on April 10 at 2:30 p.m.



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