Superb relief pitching and clutch hitting allow baseball to win home opener
MARCH 24, BLAZER STADIUM–
When last year's 7-10 Blazers were in crunchtime, they often choked. But today's 8-7 victory over a tough Watkins Mill team shows that the Blazers may have the experience, determination and skill needed in close-game situations.
Through tremendous late-game hitting and excellent relief pitching, the Blazers came back from a 7-4 deficit to win their first game at refurbished Blazer Stadium. They start the season 2-0 after a 17-3 destruction of Einstein on March 22.
The team made defensive errors early on and senior pitcher Grant Staking had a shaky start to the game, allowing six runs in the first two innings including a monstrous three run home run in the second inning. The Blazers used small-ball tactics to score their first four batters of the game, sophomore Tommy Dugan, junior Justin Roman, senior Sam Boone and senior Kent Anderson in that order. However they still trailed by two going into the third inning.
Junior Cody Simpson replaced Staking and pitched a masterful four inning one hit, one run performance in which he stymied countless Wolverine attempts to pad their lead. Simpson believes that "the team worked together to comeback."
After a fourth inning Wolverine run to give them a 7-4 advantage, Anderson belted a fifth inning triple to the gap in right-center field, the Blazers' only extra-base hit of the game. He then scored on a wild pitch and finished 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs.
The Blazers mounted an impressive comeback, scoring three runs in the sixth inning to take a game-winning 8-7 advantage. Dugan, who went 4-4 with two runs, had an RBI single before senior Sam Feinstein scored the game-tying run on a passed ball. Anderson then recorded the game-winning single, scoring Dugan.
Senior Sam Boone relieved Simpson for the seventh and final inning. While the first batter reached base on an error, Boone struck out the final three batters of the game for the save, perhaps foreshadowing improved crunchtime performances by the team this year. In fact, none of Watkins Mill's six hits came in the final four innings, while the Blazers blasted an impressive 14 hits.
Coach John Macdonald was very pleased with the way his team turned things around. "They showed a lot of composure in coming back. We overcame some bad pitching and some bad defense," he said. "We're a veteran and experienced team; we didn't rattle."
According to Dugan, if the team can continue to do well at the plate and on the mound, the team can be successful this year. "If we can throw as well as we did today and keep the bats hot like the past two games, I think we can have a good chance at a positive season," he said.
The game was originally scheduled for 7:00 p.m. today, but was moved up to 3:30 p.m. because of the anticipated cold weather. The Blazers look to continue their strong play when they play Walter Johnson on the road on March 29 at 3:30 p.m.
Zach Mellman. Zach Mellman was born on October 18, 1956 (he was held back once or twice). He has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland his entire life. He is currently a senior at Blair enrolled in honors classes. He is also a member of Blair's golf team, … More »