MARCH 24, BLAZER STADIUM –
A sunny if chilly Opening Day at Blazer Stadium began and ended with silence: first for American patriots overseas, and last in the wake of Blair baseball's 10-6 loss to the Wootton Patriots.
The Blazers began last season similarly with a 1-6 loss to Wootton and ended up 10-9, but expectations are drastically different for this year's team. Last year was loaded with experienced seniors like Will Fassett, Nick Cope, Thomas Kaufman, Mike Coe and Liam Bowen, which prompted predictions of a great season and playoff run.
Whereas last year's squad could get away with some underachieving individuals because of the team's vast experience and talent, this year all players will have to perform consistently at their best if they want Blair to succeed, according to Coach John Macdonald.
Blair went 4-1 in the preseason, allowing just 11 runs in those five games. This bodes well for the six-man pitching staff made entirely of juniors with little or no varsity experience, but today pitching was a weakness. "We pitched poorly to their better hitters," said Macdonald. "We need to work ahead in counts."
The Blazers threatened to score often today, loading the bases twice and getting numerous runners to third, but never scored more than twice in an inning. Wootton on the other hand got its hits in clumps, batting around the order off reliever Sam Boone in the sixth inning to cement their lead with four additional runs. The Patriots only had two base runners in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings combined, both from walks.
Wootton struck early, scoring two in the first inning. Left fielder Thomas Foley responded quickly, doubling off the top of the fence to drive in shortstop Josh Richardson, who had two hits on the day, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
At times, starting pitcher Grant Staking really gave the Blair fans something to cheer about. For the most part, the junior had great control and decent speed for his 2003 debut. Fielding errors augmented his mistakes; the three-run homer he let up to Patriot third baseman Arden Farce in the third inning drove in several unearned runners.
That home run put Wootton up 6-2 until the bottom of the fourth. Center fielder Mike Cozy, who had two hits and two RBI, drove in right fielder Carlos Jaimes, who reached on an error and advanced on a sacrifice fly from junior third baseman Ian Scroggs.
Junior first baseman Kent Anderson scored once and led the team with three hits, all singles to right-center field.
Blair's next game is at B-CC High School on Thursday, March 27 at 3:30 p.m.
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 »