Senior night against Clarksburg makes it to the eleventh
The Blair Blazers (10-7) beat the Clarksburg Coyotes (10-6) 3-2 in extra innings on Monday night after an extended absence from the field due to heavy rain. Strong pitching by both teams coupled with good infield play kept the score low despite the game lasting eleven innings. Clarksburg's numerous errors and walks in the final inning gave the Blazers the opportunity to take home a win on senior night.
The game opened with a Clarksburg fly ball off of senior starting pitcher Noah Buchholz. The ball flew several feet foul over the fence, but was caught by junior first baseman Raffa Kanner's reaching glove. Kanner's play was to be one of the many amazing defensive moments of the game. Buchholz ended the inning by walking and striking out the next two batters, respectively.
Play started to open up for both teams in the fifth inning. A Clarksburg double with two outs put a runner in scoring position, and he was knocked home by a short outfield single to put the Coyotes up by one. Blair retaliated with a double by Maher and a single by sophomore left fielder Henry Wiebe, but both runners were picked off while stealing.
The sixth inning again lacked the action the game demanded for both the teams and the fans in attendance. Blair and Clarksburg each got a single, but both runners were left stranded. The seventh saw a pitching change for the Blazers, sending out senior Bobby Pfefferle, who struck out one and allowed a single hit in his first inning up. In the bottom of the seventh, it was do or die for the Blazers, and junior catcher Ryan Bratton did what was necessary by walking his way to first. A Clarksburg balk and a sensational suicide squeeze bunt by Maher allowed Bratton home, sending the game into extra innings.
Both teams were much more efficient at the plate late in the game. Two strikeouts and a critical run-saving play by Bratton at home plate ended Clarksburg's eighth. Half an inning later and Blair once again stranded two runners on base. Clarksburg got a runner on in the tenth, who managed to steal his way around the bases and put his team up 2-1. But Pfefferle opened the inning with a stand-up triple, and was sent home by Bratton's sacrifice fly out.
Moving forward, Blair hopes to win games without needing to go into extra innings. According to Maher, the team's execution at bat was lackluster throughout the night."Throughout the game we had a lot of chances to win it, but we were leaving runners stranded or we weren't getting a bunt down, and that stuff is important, especially in an eleven inning game," explained Maher. The Blazers hope to continue their winning ways in the playoffs, as they host the Richard Montgomery Rockets (2-14) on Friday night at home.
Bobby Pfefferle is the Sports Editor for Silver Chips Online
Charles Lott. My name is Charlie, and I'm the features editor for Silver Chips Online. I enjoy reading, using Oxford commas, and playing frisbee for Blair. More »