Glenelg Country School baseball coach Chris Garber has never been one to overvalue the strikeout. As a member of the James Madison University baseball team that advanced to the 1983 College World Series, Garber understands the importance of team baseball and a good defense.
"I've been telling our guys all season that if we can tighten up our defense and allow our pitchers to be aggressive and challenge the strike zone, get them swinging the bats, if we make the plays behind them then it gives us the opportunity to get in and off the field quickly," said Garber, whose Dragons improved to 7-1 with an 8-2 win at Boys' Latin April 11. "I thought the defense played great today."
Dragons starter Jake Figueroa went 4 2/3 innings, allowing only two unearned runs on three hits without the benefit of a strikeout.
Figueroa was able to settle in quickly, because his offense gave him a three-run cushion in the top of the first inning.
Will Seiferth and Jack Dougherty both reached base with two outs, and then catcher Max Godwin drew a walk after fouling off several pitches, loading the bases for sophomore shortstop Dylan Farnella, who came through with a clutch three-run double.
Farnella also pitched a no-hitter against St. Frances earlier this season, and recently had another no-hitter broken up with two outs in the seventh in a win over Baltimore Lutheran.
Godwin "made the pitcher throw 8 or 9 pitches and then he got a walk to bring up Dylan, and then Dylan delivered with the base clearing double," Garber said. "That at bat was key because it got us to the next guy and allowed us to get those three RBIs and get ahead."
By the fourth inning, Glenelg Country had extended the lead to 6-0, as sophomore Colby Manekin came through with two two-out RBI singles.
Boys' Latin finally got on board with unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings. But the Dragons nullified both of those runs when leadoff hitter Miguel Flores blasted a two-run homer just inside the first baseline foul pole in the sixth inning.
Glenelg Country's No. 8 and 9 hitters, Logan Smith and Cameron Clifton, combined to score four of their team's eight runs in the game.
"Today, our 8 and 9 hitters probably had their best game ever because they were hitting the ball hard and getting on base," Garber said. "Top to bottom, we really did pretty well."
Jack Dougherty, who reached base four times in four plate appearances Thursday, pitched the last seven outs, with three strikeouts, no hits and only one walk.
Glenelg Country has lost only once so far this season, to undefeated MIAA B Conference leader Severn (11-0), 3-1, on March 22.
The Dragons will have a chance to avenge that loss next Wednesday at Severn.
"We know that one game doesn't make a season, so we're pleased with this performance, but next week we play three very tough teams," said Garber, whose team lost in the MIAA B Conference semifinals last year. "We have Pallotti away, we have Severn away, and then we have St. Marys at home, so this game and those three games will tell the story of what our season may become."
Josh Smith, Chuck Lillie and Parker Yablon collected hits for Boys' Latin, and Harris Lipinski pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
MIAA C Conference
Chapelgate (2-0 Conference, 3-6 overall) defeated Beth TFiloh on Thursday, 5-2.
The Yellow Jackets have now won three in a row.