Extra inning makes 11-8 loss extra frustrating
APRIL 13, BLAZER STADIUM -
In their 11-8 loss to the Richard Montgomery Rockets, the Blazers held on until the very last minute, coming back from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh to go into an eighth inning which lasted until well after ten p.m. on a chilly night. Yet it was not what the Blazers did in the final innings of this three and a half hour game that defined its tone and led to its result, but rather it was what they did not do in the early innings – find crucial holes in the outfield, communicate on routine fly balls and keep their pitching consistent – that cost them the game.
Despite some definite mistakes on defense, much of what brought the Blazers down was out of their control – questionable calls by the umpires and poor luck at the plate included. For example, senior Chris Madert (the team's offensive leader) was one-for-four this game with a fielder's choice grounder to short. Two foul pop-ups caught by RM's first-baseman accounted for two of his outs and a line drive straight into the right-fielder's glove accounted for the other. Like Madert, many of Blair's other batters felt the same frustration, as when, in the second inning, senior Michael Sindall slammed what was arguably the best-hit ball of the night into left-centerfield and was caught trying to turn his solid base-hit into a triple.
The Rockets needed no time to warm up their bats, and came into the first inning ready to face starting pitcher junior Tommy Dugan, who pitched into the fourth inning with two strike-outs before he was moved to center field. After two Rockets walked, a triple into left field brought two runners in and put RM on the scoreboard.
Blair had no answer to RM's initial two until the third, when junior Miguel Noel-Nosbaum put a grounder through to left field and advanced to second and then third after an overthrow and a passed ball, respectively. Dugan drove a double to left which scored Noel-Nosbaum before the inning ended on Madert's unlucky line-drive into the right fielder's glove.
The real damage was done by RM in the top of the fourth, when a walk and two botched defensive plays loaded the bases for Dugan with only one out. Dugan hit the next batter which walked in a run. At this point, Coach John MacDonald replaced Dugan with sophomore Adam Kopp. Another runner scored after a passed ball, and after a walk loaded the bases again, a tough grounder to sophomore shortstop Dylan Rebois sent in yet another run. After the fourth runner of the inning crossed the plate, Kopp ended it with two strike-outs. In the bottom of the fourth Rebois sent junior Lee Shields to home on a grounder up the middle, and junior Sam Morris scored on a balk by the RM pitcher.
After the Rockets scored two runs in the top of the fifth, Blair answered back with two of their own as both Madert and senior Ben Nakamura had an RBI a piece. The score was now eight to five, and after a scoreless sixth and top of the seventh, Blair realized it was their last chance to stay alive, and got to work quickly. Dugan got to first on a grounder up the middle and then stole third after advancing to second when senior Cody Simpson walked. Nakamura had another RBI as his grounder to the shortstop drove in Dugan. Two more walks scored Simpson, and after Nakamura stole home and Kopp walked, the score was now tied, the bases were loaded with only one out and Blair was primed to pull off a come-back win. Yet it was not to be. Rebois sent a ground ball to the third-baseman, who threw it home to catch Sindall in a force out. The umpire, however, made a questionable interference call and Rebois was also out at first, sending the game into extra innings.
After walking the first runner of the eighth, Kopp, who had an impressive seven total strike-outs, left the game and was replaced by junior Max Epstein. Epstein hit a batter, and with two on base, an RM double scored one run which was followed by a single, also scoring one. The inning finally came to a close with the Rockets up 11-8 after an RM runner stole home. Blair was not able to mount another rally, unfortunately, and saw this marathon of a ball game end after so much effort on their part.
The Blazers' next game is Friday, April 15 at Damascus at 3:30 p.m.
Ellie Blalock. Ellie is a SENIOR in the CAP program at Blair. She enjoys such activities as traveling, being able to say "water" in six languages and having heart-to-heart chats with eccentric politicians. If you're in need of a laugh, please ask Ellie about her driving record...you … More »