Blair's 16-4 win over Cougars boosts record to 4-1 with second mercy-rule win of the year
APR 5, MONTGOMERY BLAIR HIGH SCHOOL-
In Blair's loss to Sherwood High School on Apr 3, senior pitcher Emma Simson struggled throughout the game. But she got a chance to rest on Apr 5 as sophmore JV pitcher Ellie Blalock comfortably handled the Quince Orchard High School (QO) Cougars en route to a 16-4 victory in five innings.
The Blazers hit the ball well while both bunting and swinging away, a change from the team's poor performance at the plate against Sherwood. Senior co-captains Carly Vieira and Sophie Strike had a home run and double, respectively, to punctuate the Blazers' improvements in power hitting.
Strike was quick to play down her dominant performance. "The pitcher was the perfect speed," she said. "She had enough that we could hit it really far, but she wasn't so slow that we were way out in front. It was great for our confidence at the plate."
Power hitting is the final component of Coach Louis Hoelman's vision of true "small-ball" offense, in which the top and bottom of the order bunt to reach base and allow the heart of the lineup to drive them in with longer shots.
Bunting has not been a problem for the Blazers throughout the season, with senior Amy Nguyen and juniors Amy Ernst and Marianne Epstein using their speed to maximum effect. Also, Epstein, Ernst and Vieira all had more than one stolen base today.
One of the keys to the game was Blair's ability to score early. They built a 14-1 lead before QO was able to register another run.
In the Sherwood game, Blair didn't have a runner on base until the last inning. "[The game against QO] was our first bounce-back win of the season, and we had our best batting game of the year," said Hoelman.
A major bonus afforded by Blair's large early lead was the playing time it opened up to reserves. Seniors Elizabeth Inkellis and Norma Menjivar, as well as juniors Katharine Epstein and Sally Haskell, all saw time at the plate and on the field, contributing solid hitting and fielding to the Blazers' closing efforts.
Blair scored twice in the first inning, while QO scored its first run in the bottom of the first on a passed ball. In the second inning, however, the Blazers warmed to the QO pitcher. Strike led off the inning with a single.
She scored on a single by Ernst, kicking off an 11-run flurry in which Strike had two hits and the Blazers batted completely through the order.
QO was never able to close the gap, and the game was called in the fifth, which is the earliest inning possible under Montgomery County's mercy-rule policy.
Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »