Blazers bedeviled out of playoffs
For seven of Blair's starters, this was the beginning of the last run at the County Championship. The team entered the game confidently but was outlasted by Springbrook High School, 6-4, bringing a disappointing end to Blair's best softball season ever.
The Blazers entered the playoffs in the second round after drawing the third seed and a first-round bye. Blair had just won its first regular-season division title in school history, finishing 5-1 in its division and 9-4 overall.
The team's success was due largely to its enormous amount of experience. Co-captains Carly Vieira and Emma Simson have been playing softball together since third grade, and all of Blair's seniors have been playing as a unit since their freshman year.
Power from Vieira, Simson and Apr 8 Washington Post player of the week senior Lily Hamburger also helped the Blazers early in the year as they racked up four wins by at least nine runs in their first six games. However, midway through the season the Blazers went into a serious slump, scoring only two runs in a three-game stretch against top county competition.
However, the Blazers managed to pull through the hard times. They found their stroke and beat Churchill High School, 13-3, two days after suffering a shutout loss to Gaithersburg High School. They also won their final regular season game May 6 over Paint Branch High School, 4-0.
Blair's defense was relatively consistent, with outstanding performances all season long from Hamburger, Simson, Vieira and first baseman and senior co-captain Sophie Strike.
However, errors at key moments cost the Blazers dearly in losses to Gaithersburg and Watkins Mill high schools, killing momentum on the diamond and at the plate.
The Springbrook game seemed to be a microcosm of the season. The Blazers came out strong, scoring two runs in the first inning off of triples by Vieira and Simson while Simson started the game, pitching very well. Then, Blair went through a dry spell at the plate, going four innings without another run and getting only three batters to the plate in three of those innings. Meanwhile, a key error at the plate and 11 walks by Simson hurt the team. In the final two innings Blair's bats returned, as did Simson's control.
In the end, though, it wasn't enough, as Springbrook managed to hold the Blazers to two runs during the team's offensive comeback. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and a runner on, Coach Louis Hoelman called for junior shortstop Amy Ernst to bunt. She obeyed and sprinted up the first base line, but the Devils forced her out to end Blair's playoff hopes.
Coach Louis Hoelman was as disappointed as his team, but like the Blazers themselves, he had a positive outlook on the season. "It's been great working with these kids," he said. "I'm really proud of how far they've come," he said.
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 »