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April 26, 2016

Blazers suffer ninth inning loss

by Eleanor Cook, Online Editor-in-Chief
Blair varsity baseball (6-5) lost to the Walter Johnson Wildcats (10-2) in a close game by a score of 4-2. After allowing two runs in the top of the ninth inning, the Blazers were unable to bounce back.

The game began with Blair fielding, and junior Scott Gahart pitching amidst rowdy cries from Walter Johnson's dugout. Gahart, however, kept his cool and no opposing batters made it on base. On the offensive end, the inning was similarly uneventful for the Blazers, with one runner being stranded on first base.

Gahart once again gave up no runs in the second inning and two catches from sophomore Zach Dunne helped to prevent the Wildcats from getting past first. At the bottom of the second inning, after two outs, senior Richard Moglen and sophomore Chanell Cuello both got singles, and then junior Raffa Kanner brought Moglen home with a single to give the Blazers a lead.

In the third inning, neither team got on base, but in top of the fourth inning, a Walter Johnson triple brought in two players home, putting the Blazers at a one-run deficit. Blair bounced back with Cuello, who got a double with senior Bobby Pfefferle already having stolen second, allowing Pfefferle to score a run.

The next two innings transpired scoreless. In the top of the seventh inning, Blair head coach Eric Zolkiewicz was ejected by the umpire for continually leaving the dugout. Although Zolkiewicz and the umpire were both riled, Gahart maintained his cool and the Wildcats did not get any more base hits that inning. "I was just trying to play," Gahart said. Blair assistant coach Lucas Bremmerman then took over coaching and, after no runs were scored, the game went into extra innings.

At the top of the eighth, Blair senior Noah Buchholz replaced Gahart on the mound. Buchholz held his ground in the eighth, allowing no Walter Johnson players past second base, but Blair couldn’t muster any offence, leading to another extra inning. In the ninth inning, with a player on first, Walter Johnson hit a triple far into right field, bringing the runner back home, giving Walter Johnson a one run lead. The player who had hit the triple then proceeded to steal home, and put his team up by two.

Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, the pressure was mounting on the Blazers to respond, and despite their efforts, Blair couldn’t get any game tying plays. The game ended 4-2 in favor of the Wildcats.

Although he was proud of his team's heart, Zolkiewicz would like to see the Blazers maintain better concentration throughout their games, which might allow them to get on base more often. "They played hard, they played with heart and intensity, and that's what I'm looking for," said Zolkiewicz.
"The biggest thing for us is making sure that we keep playing hard, keep the intensity, and stay focused throughout the whole game," Zolkiewicz said.



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