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March 25, 2006

No love for the glove in Blair loss

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor

The blustery, chilly weather this afternoon made it feel as if it were still winter. And when it came to defense, the Blair Blazers looked just as cold.

Eight errors doomed Blair in an 8-3 loss to the Rockville Rams, dropping them to 0-2 on the young season. Pitcher Adam Kopp allowed eight runs, seven of them unearned thanks to all the mistakes in the field.

"We looked like eight year-olds in the field today," Kopp said afterward. "I made a couple of bad decisions, and it hurt us."

In the third inning, trailing 3-0 with one out, a Rockville's Brad Feigenbaum hit a slow roller to Kopp's left. He fielded it cleanly, but instead of tossing the ball with his bare hand to first, he tried to shovel the ball with his glove. Feigenbaum was easily safe and the play was ruled an error.

"I had my momentum going so I threw it with my glove," Kopp said. "It was a dumb decision." Kopp was pulled in the fourth inning after trailing 8-0, almost entirely thanks to poor defense.

Blair manager John MacDonald said the defense was a total change from Wednesday's loss, where the Blazers made zero errors. "We looked really timid on defense. Kopp's pitching was fine; it was good enough for us to make defensive plays. We just didn't make them."

Blair attempted to rally late in the game, but were stifled by a couple of terrific plays by Rockville (1-1) outfielders. One again, Kopp was on the wrong end of a big play.

Trailing 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded, Kopp hit a short fly ball to right field. Rockville's Josh Bend charged full-speed and made a shoestring catch to retire the side and save at least two runs.

The next inning, Blair got RBI singles from Gabe Sartor and Alec Burns to cut the deficit to 8-3. But with the bases loaded again and one out, Lee Shields flew out to Bend, who then gunned the ball to home plate to beat Sartor by nearly 15 feet for the easy tag out to end the inning.

With two runners on in the sixth, Blair's Tommy Dugan was robbed by Rockville's Josh Morley, who made an over-the-shoulder catch in left field to end the inning.

Blair manager John MacDonald said the plays were terrific. "They made some great plays that just robbed us of any momentum." But he also said Blair needed to hit the ball on the ground more. "We didn't test their infield at all. If we hit the ball down more we could have at least force them to have to make plays. In the outfield, all you have to do is catch the ball."

MacDonald also admitted that Blair's lineup won't remind anyone of the Yankees. "To say we're going to have great hitting is dreaming. But we should at least put the ball on the ground so the other team has the chance to screw up."

Blair actually tied Rockville with six hits, but the Rams committed zero errors to the Blazers' eight. Of Blair's six base knocks, four came from the 2-3-4 hitters in the lineup. Tommy Dugan was 1 for 3 with a run, Zach Hall was 2 for 4 and Avi Wolfman-Arent was 1 for 2. The top three hitters in the order; Sam Morris, Dugan and Hall, scored all three Blair runs today.

For Rockville, Justin Turner was just 1-3, but reached base (and scored) all three times. The top five hitters in their order scored all eight runs.

Kopp said that today's game was not emblematic of things to come. "Today was a fluke," he said. "Don't judge us on this game."

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  • pete case (View Email) on March 29, 2006 at 10:37 PM
    sartor is the unsung hero of this game. along with his clutch hitting, the guy pitched 3 innings in relief of the oaf adam kopp with a 0.00 WHIP. hop off dat beast.
  • Fishlips on March 30, 2006 at 8:04 AM
    How many errors did Kopp have?
  • re: pete case on March 31, 2006 at 9:15 PM
    unsung hero? Didn't they lose the game?
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