Blazers struggle of late in stepping up to the plate
APR 5, QUINCE ORCHARD HIGH SCHOOL --
Blazer baseball lost 5-4 to Quince Orchard (QO) High School. This was Blair's second loss in a row by just one run, evening its record at 3-3. The Blazers led from the top of the first until the bottom of the seventh inning.
Blair pitching and defense proved itself yet again today in six innings of great baseball. Starter Grant Staking was far from dominant, but made quality pitches and had sound fielders behind him.
First baseman Kent Anderson relieved Staking after one Cougar hit a single in the sixth inning as Blair led 4-3. Anderson finished the inning with just three more batters coming to the plate and retired the first two of the seventh inning before allowing a single past second baseman Sam Boone. Junior Ian Scroggs, who started at third base, relieved Anderson and gave up a triple to Cougar Chris Maloney, the only batter he faced, which tied the score at 4-4.
Shortstop Josh Richardson then came in to pitch, which he has rarely done in his four years on varsity. He blew two heaters past QO's dazed centerfielder before allowing a weakly hit infield single to Scroggs, who was filling in for Richardson at shortstop. Maloney scored and won the game for QO, 5-4.
Aside from a late rally that put Blair over B-CC High School 8-5 on Mar 27, the team has had difficulty in clutch situations with the game on the line, according to Coach John Macdonald. "Someone has got to make that last play, that last hit, that last pitch," he said. "We seem to be playing 20 outs, but we need to be playing 21 outs."
The Blazers also had late-game struggles against Sherwood on Thursday, Apr 3. Starter Jonas Wilson held the Warriors to one unearned run through five innings, and Boone pitched two innings of perfect relief to give the Blazers a chance in the bottom of the seventh down 1-0. Richardson led off with a hard-hit double to left-centerfield, but three outs to score him, even from scoring position, were still not enough.
Blair scored all four of its runs against QO in the first inning, assisted by fudgy Cougar defense. QO starter Matt Berninger beaned a batter, walked another and had a wild pitch, and Cougar fielders had several throwing errors.
Perhaps the biggest question mark entering the season was whether the team, which has only five returning seniors and no returning pitchers, would be able to compensate for its relative inexperience on varsity. Anderson, Boone and Scroggs, all juniors, have filled out the infield admirably around Richardson and catcher Max Eckert.
On the other hand, Blair has been relatively weak offensively aside from a 33-1 rout of Kennedy on Apr 2, and even when the Blazers score they are generally too reliant on the other team's mistakes. Cougar hitters, who swung and put the ball in play in every single at-bat except one strikeout to lead off the seventh, presented a stark contrast to the hesitant Blazers. After the first inning, Blair struck out eight times and walked four, leaving QO's defense largely untested.
Blair hosts Magruder High School on Tuesday, Apr 8 at 7:00 p.m.
|Quince Orchard (4-1)||2||1||0||0||0||0||2||5||13||2|
Ben Meiselman. Ben Meiselman is a senior in the Communication Arts Program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He enjoys playing sports, especially baseball. Ben is seventeen years old, born May 16, 1985. He has played the trumpet since fourth grade when he began … More »