By Andrew Conrad, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:43 PM EDT, March 27, 2014
The Marriotts Ridge baseball team overcame disasters in the first and fifth innings Thursday afternoon against visiting Mt. Hebron to win, 6-3.
Mt. Hebron jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but Mustangs starter Grant Summers gathered himself to pitch into the seventh without allowing another run.
Both teams admitted still being rusty from limited time on the diamond due to the extended winter.
"Since it's early in the season you have to get your pitching in, play defense and once the weather warms up the bats will come around," said Mustangs senior catcher Wes Carson, who singled twice, drove in two runs and drew a walk. "We weren't worried. We came back in (a 2-1 win) against River Hill (on Monday). We just had to clean up our defense and we knew we could come back."
Baserunning blunders hamstrung the Mustangs in the fifth inning, but they were able to overcome those as well.
Looking to extend its 5-3 lead, Marriotts Ridge put runners on second and third with no outs in the fifth when Matt Hansen drew a walk and Gunner Barnard reached on an error, followed by a wild pitch. But on the next ground ball, Mt. Hebron third baseman Matt Ansaldi and catcher Paul Lutchenkov caught the Mustangs lead runner in a run down between third base and home plate, and then Ansaldi started a 5-3-2 double play to end the inning with no further damage.
"We haven't really practiced base running yet. We haven't been able to get outside much," Carson said.
"Base running is one of the toughest things. Number one I think it's one of the most undertaught aspects of the game, but it's also the thing that you can practice the least when you're in a gym, and that's where we've been. This is our second time on a full field being able to react to balls in play. So yes, it was ugly," Marriotts Ridge coach Paul Eckert said. "We will get better at those, and I'll give them a little bit of leeway because of the fact that we haven't been on the bases as much ... teachable moments."
Mt. Hebron loaded the bases in the top of the seventh as Jake Stevens, Michael Lettieri and Lutchenkov all drew walks, but Mustangs closer Michael Dorsch worked out of the jam with a foul out and a ground ball back to the mound.
Mt. Hebron coach Brian Culley — whose team shut out Howard, 10-0, on opening day — shared Eckert's frustrations at the lack of outdoor practice. Marriotts Ridge reached base eight times on walks or errors.
"The weather does play into it. By no means is it the reason we lost, but it's a blower right now trying to set up any consistent schedule for everybody," he said. "I'm pleased overall ... I think we'll be OK. You just run into a good team and you give them too many free bases, you're asking for trouble."
MH (1-1) 300 000 0 - 3
MR (2-0) 002 301 x - 6
MIAA B Conference
Defending B Conference champion Glenelg Country flexed its muscles in its conference opener Thursday night, smiting rival Lutheran, 23-0.
The Dragons collected 22 hits — including nine doubles and five home runs — in the dominant performance.
Will Seiferth, a returning Conference All-Star, led the offense with three doubles and a home run in four at bats. Max Godwin and Jake Figueroa each homered twice.
Dylan Farnella and Matt Sheehan combined on a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts in five innings.