2007 looks to be a difficult season for the Blazers
The upcoming season will not be an easy one for the Blair baseball team, as inexperience and injuries have already begun taking their toll on the program. Most of the team has limited varsity experience, and injuries have robbed them of some players who do. "There's not a lot of varsity success returning," said head coach John MacDonald.
With limited talent and experience, the squad looks to rely on a few key players. The team's focal point will be multifaceted senior captain Zach Hall, who plays both infield and outfield and can pitch as well. Hall will start the season opener in center field before taking the mound in game two. Towering first baseman Adam Kopp, who batted .377 last season, will be a valuable batters in the lineup along with Hall.
Armed with a roster that lacks definitive power and speed, MacDonald has no set batting order, choosing to go with whoever is performing well at the time. "[The lineup] will be based on who's hot," he said. "It could be completely different from game to game." He would like to play to the strengths of Hall and Kopp though, with Hall setting the tables in the two-hole and Kopp having RBI opportunities in the five spot.
According the MacDonald, the team must stay away from mistakes if they hope to be successful, citing errors and walked batters in particular as pertinent issues. "We have to do the little things right," he said.
The defense will be anchored by a strong infield, led by seniors Keith Ingram (third base, shortstop) and Chris Kidwell (shortstop). Hall will be an asset as well at second base and in the outfield, and Kopp plays a solid first base.
Pitching will be one of the team's weaker spots, and with a roster loaded with inexperience and inconsistency, the team looks to use three to four pitchers a game, as the predominantly right-handed staff often has difficulty throwing multiple pitches for consistent strikes, with each pitcher lasting only a few innings apiece. Pivotal members of the staff include seniors Matt Ludington, who returns to the team after sitting out last season with a broken arm, and Gabe Sartor, a consistent left-hander out of the bullpen. "The key is if I can get some consistent pitching out of some first time pitchers," said MacDonald.
Thus far, the team has been decimated by injuries, with MacDonald calling them "more than we've ever had." Thus far, senior Robert Riker as well as junior Dylan Baird are among those who have yet to take the field, while many others are playing at less than 100 percent. Still, MacDonald maintains that injuries are not an excuse for lackluster play, instead considering them opportunities for other players to step up and contribute.
MacDonald reiterated that he will be satisfied with .500 after a 9-12 season last year. The schedule is somewhat favorable early on, but takes a difficult turn after spring break, including a brutal eight game stretch that MacDonald describes as especially tough. Still, if the pieces come together, avoiding careless mistakes and hitting well in the clutch, the team has a chance to recapture some of its past glory. Blair softball looks geared for an incredible 2007 season. Blair baseball may very well be headed the other way.
The baseball team opened the season Mar. 21 at Blair against Blake.
Andrew Kung. Andrew Kung is a rising Magnet junior who is psyched for a year of Chips Online. He has lived in New York, Michigan, and New Mexico prior to his current residence in Maryland. As a cynical sports fan, he is not often disappointed, but not … More »