Silver Chips Online

Ain't no walk in the dogpark

Baseball drops third in a row to Churchill Bulldogs, 7-2

By Elsi Wu, Online Sports Editor
March 28, 2007
The Bulldogs sprung out of the gates, biting at the chomp of a Blazer squad crippled by injuries and back-to-back losses. All the Blazers could do was watch and hope that another foul turn would not decimate the team past the brittle skeleton that remains.

On his second start of the season, senior Matt Ludington found himself amid a brand new lineup. Playing his first game with catcher David Fegley, Ludington was one of the few enduring fixtures on a baseball field turned juggling act for manager John MacDonald.

According to MacDonald, the challenge for the Blazers is two-fold: "playing around injuries" and a team rule that players "can't miss a practice and then start in the game." The constantly changing makeup of the team makes for "changes in the infield depending on who's pitching" of Blair's seven possible pitchers.

Despite the new surroundings, Ludington kept his composure early. Churchill's first batter, pitcher Jake Spring, racked up a full count and struck out. Leftfielder Brian Kennedy would follow with a second out, but centerfielder Daniel Wawrzusin would be the first omen of the Bulldogs' scoring threat, smashing a double into far left field. Ludington walked the next batter, and with men on first and second, first baseman Evan Farha stepped up to the plate, enticed by a coach's encouragement that "there's RBI just waiting for ya." Farha would have to wait until the fifth inning for his RBI when his fly into centerfield landed comfortably in the glove of senior Zach Hall, ending the inning and dodging a close bullet.

After beginning the second inning with two outs, it looked as if the Blazers might catch another break. The Bulldogs' offense started with two walks, the second off of a hit batter. Hungry for a hit after striking out, Spring drove a one-run single into centerfield. Kennedy found his redemption too, one-upping Spring with a one-run double just over the head of third baseman Keith Ingram. Churchill's scoring run quickly halted when a short infield hit by Wawrzusin found the glove of shortstop Carlos Mesa on a leaping grab.

The score stayed at 2-0 until the Blazers appeared on the boards at the bottom of the fifth. With men on the corners, Hall batted in ­­­Josh Gordon for his first run of the season, but the rally was short lived when a pop into centerfield by leftfielder Gabe Fonte ended the inning.

With two innings left in regulation, the Bulldogs rapidly widened the gap, assisted by poor pitching and a distracted defense. Gordon started the sixth inning giving up two walks, second baseman Alex Goodman and third baseman Doug Werber. The Blazers' troubles were also compounded by a questionable safe ruling when Goodman stole second with Werber at bat, a result of only one umpire calling the game. After seven hitters, reliever Eli Simon-Mishel entered the game, but the Bulldogs' were still able to manage four runs on the inning.

Offensively, the Blazers let another scoring opportunity slip by. With the bases loaded and one out, the Blazers milked the chance for only one run scored by Jason Meer because batter Adam Kopp was hit by a pitch.

Although the Blazers kept close for most of the game, the same demons dealt the team their third loss. "These are the types of things that happen in baseball," says MacDonald. "He [Gordon] was having an off day, but if he has a good inning we're right in it." The Blazers also committed three errors in the fifth inning alone, a period summed up by MacDonald as "the kind of inning that puts you out of the game."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/7391