In the early innings of Wednesday's baseball game between No. 6 Westminster and No. 7 Liberty, the wind was blowing, a cold rain was falling off and on and the temperature sat in the mid 50s.
It was a perfectly miserable day for baseball, but when Westminster senior third baseman Eric Deitz came to the plate in the first inning with his teammate Ryan Ruff already on base, all he saw was the baseball leaving the hand of Liberty pitcher Andrew Massey.
"I was feeling confident," said Deitz, who cracked a double that drove home the Owls' first run in an 8-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Lions. "Lately we've been starting slow, not getting that many hits. So that hit energized our bats and got our dugout going."
Ten games into the season, Westminster (6-3-1), which went 23-0 last season, is starting to come together.
"We're definitely starting to mesh," said Deitz, who also had a single and finished with two RBIs and a run scored. "Even off the field, we're spending more time together. We go out for lunch after practice and stuff like that, just to talk to each other and get to know each other.
"At the start of the season we felt the pressure of what we did last year. Moving up to the varsity as juniors, some of us hadn't lost a game in high school when this season started. Then, just like that, we lost two and realized we weren't that team any more. So we decided to forget the past and focus on the present."
On Wednesday the Owls got a complete game from senior left-hander Chad Diehl, who scattered five hits and was backed up by his defense. That was quite different from the first few games of the season when Westminster struggled defensively.
"Chad pitched a good game and they played solid behind him," Liberty coach Erik Barnes said. "We didn't do that. Andrew was battling in very difficult elements. They scored early and I had us with nine errors. I'm surprised we were within six runs with nine errors. We didn't execute behind our pitcher and they did."
Barnes, whose team is now 7-1, refused to blame the weather, but Deitz said he thought the cold had an impact on his opponents.
"I couldn't feel my hands out there," Deitz said. "It had to be a factor. I was watching them in warm-ups and they were pretty solid. But the cold and the fact we were putting pressure on them on the bases forced them to get a little rattled and make mistakes."
The Owls, meanwhile, committed just one error, while Diehl had all of his pitches working.
"We looked like a real team today," Diehl said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun