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March 29, 2007

Baseball outgunned by Poolesville in scoring shootout

by Elsi Wu, Online Sports Editor
In an offensive explosion, the Blazers' nine run total matched the combined scores of the team's three previous games. But, lack of a similar response on the defensive end cost the Blazer's another game, 19-9 to the Poolesville Falcons.

Pitcher Zach Hall's second start on the mound got off rocky as the Falcons scored five runs in the first. With one out, Falcons' first baseman Pat Zapata led the team's offense with a pop to the infield which was dropped for a double. Zapata was batted in by second baseman Jason Kramek's one-run double, which was followed by third baseman Tommy Hughes with a double into left field. The Falcons stayed hot as shortstop Nick Loftus and catcher Dave Johnson collected 1 and 2 RBI respectively. The Blazers' defense showed for the last two batters of the inning, but not before pitcher Cory Wyne batted in one more on a sacrifice bunt. The bombardment finally ended with a pop into shallow right field gloved by first baseman Adam Kopp.

Not finding it defensively, the Blazers sought to exact revenge on offense. Hall led off with a single to left field. After shortstop Chris Kidwell struck out, right fielder Gabe Sartor grounded a single to right field, which set up Kopp's two run double to into deep left field with two outs. Right fielder Gabe Fonte's short infield hit took a Blair bounce and kept the inning alive with a single, followed by catcher David Fegley's single which brought Kopp home, leaving the score at 5-3 after one inning of play.

The Blazers and Falcons would match each other step for step in the second, third and fourth innings, coming out of the second with one run apiece, scoreless in the third and the fourth with one each again, upping the score to 7-5.

Not until reliever Gabe Sartor stepped up in the fifth did the Blazers lose control of the tight game. The Blazers gave up nine runs in the inning, two of which were scored on walks, a performance that manager John MacDonald would simply refer to as "not at the varsity level."

Although the showing on defense was nothing short of embarrassing, the Blazers recovered and were able to put up three runs of their own in the fifth. With two outs, third baseman Keith Ingram advanced to first after being hit by a pitch. Infielder Carlos Mesa responded with a single, and Hall loaded the bases with another walk. Kidwell batted in Ingram with another single, but it was Sartor who cleaned up the bases with a thunderous three run slam into deep right field, setting the tally at 16-9, Poolesville.

The Falcons would add to the advantage with three more runs in the sixth off of pitcher Eli Simon-Mishel, the last a grounder to right field that turned into a definitive one-run triple.

Thursday's performance drew more attention to the Blazers' weak pitching staff, requiring the use of three or four pitchers per game. "A lot of these guys aren't real pitchers," comments MacDonald, "and they don't have the arm strength," he says of the frequent replacements.

The result of more than just a merry-go-round of pitchers, the loss highlighted a number of recurring breakdowns on the team, especially on defense. "We just need to stay tight in pressure situations," says MacDonald. "Some plays aren't being made out there that aren't errors but need to be caught," he puts simply.



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  • Zachary Hall (View Email) on April 10, 2007 at 7:21 PM
    Most of the time I don't like to get into the opinions and subjective words used in these articles, but I feel I have to here. You say my "start on the mound got off rocky", yet fail to mention that I gave up exactly 0 earned runs. I'm not going to say I went out there and pitched amazing, but it was a decent outing and although I don't want to call anyone out, by the definition of earned runs, if the defense had made all the plays they should have, I would have left with a 5-0 lead rather than a 7-5 defecit.

    Also, a "pop to the infield which was dropped" is not a double and a "grounder to right field" is not a triple, it is a 2-base error and a single with a 2-base error respectively.

    And on a more positive note, we picked up our first win over Spring break, beating Walter Johnson 13-12.
  • Jonathan Emmanuel (View Email) on April 12, 2007 at 8:10 AM
    Somebody needs to develop a knuckle-ball pitcher maybe that will help the Baseball team win games.
  • to zach hall on April 14, 2007 at 1:58 PM
    i understand that you want to point out some discrepancies in the reporting and what actually happened and defend yourself, but you really threw your teammates under the bus on this one. as the pitcher, and i belive the capain as well, you need to take some blame for what happened in this one.

    congratulations on your two wins now.
  • Zachary Hall (View Email) on April 15, 2007 at 12:55 PM
    I appologize if people took it like that, that's not how I meant it. People make errors in baseball, it happens. I'm not blaming anyone for anything. Look at major league games, the best baseball players in the country, and those players make plenty of errors. This is why I used the strict definition of earned runs. I'm not trying to say that anyone cost us the game and I'm not upset with anyone. I believe in one of the previous articles it mentioned how I got up in a key situation, bases loaded with one out, and I grounded into a double play. That happened and I have no problem with that being written. But I do have a problem when I pitch well enough to have left with a shutout had all plays been made and the author of this article writes that I had a "rocky" start. Everyone makes mistakes in baseball, I make my share. When I have a rough outing, I have no problem with Silver Chips writing about it. But when I have a decent outing, giving up 0 earned runs in 4 innings, I do have a problem with Silver Chips writing about my "rocky" start, because it simply isn't true.
  • John Macdonald on April 18, 2007 at 8:13 AM
    As the baseball coach here, I enjoy reading the coverage of our games and the responses below. I know what's going on with the baseball team here better than anyone else and I feel I should defend it to a certain extent. First - I don't feel as though we've been covered unfairly, but Zach is right in his critique. Anybody can watch a game and comment on it, but baseball is a hard game to understand and the points he makes about earned runs and the technical scoring of a game are important; not only to statistics, but to the integrity of reporting the game. The description of the game was simply not accurate in many ways. It's important to note that we lost the game (19-10 by the way), but who cares about the names of the Poolesville players? Readers want to know about their friends and family and naming the opponents rather than just referring to them by position or where they hit in the batting order serves little purpose to the Chips reader. I also have a problem with words like "embarrassing" or some of the other descriptions used to descride our play unless they are in a quote. The truth is that we (baseball) have to play to improve and learn from our mistakes. We are a struggling team, but not without reason and the remarks made by people who don't understand the game or who don't bother to watch us play means very little. For example, to the person who criticized Zach without having the courage to leave your own name, I don't think Zach threw any of his teammates under the bus with his comments. He simply pointed out a discrepancy between the article and the facts. The facts are that our poor defense marred his pitching performance. No players were named and Zach was pointing out the truth without trying to escape from taking responsibility. And to Jonathan Emmanuel, who is always waiting to ask me what happened after a loss without ever bothering to check out a game himself, a Knuckleball dude? Good thinking. There is currently one knuckleballer in the major leagues, so it seems like it would be a pretty easy pitch for a HS baseball player to develop. Come on - go back to watching the Nationals on TV and I'll worry about the assortment of pitches that my players are able to throw for strikes.
  • Grant Staking (View Email) on April 23, 2007 at 1:28 PM
    I did not see the game but I can tell when Players are honest in there comments. Zach Hall would never put his teamates under the bus. Also You cannot just look at the score. The score does not tell the story by far. I remeber pitching bad games and walking everybody but yet not letting anyone score becuase I battled and We had good defense who picked me up all the time. People always question the team there performance and the coach. You need to remeber That Mr. Macdonald was coach of the year in this century. He does not like taking credit for it, he had a great team but you always need a great coach on a great team. He is the best coach in the county. He does his job and the players need to do there part and go out and play. Miss you guys. Utah is fun.
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