The six-time defending North-Central District American Legion champion Dayton Raiders stumbled in the league opener Monday, losing to Baltimore Highlands, 4-1.

Baltimore Highlands is a new team in the district and was playing only its second league game. On Saturday, it lost its opener to Gaithersburg, 4-2.

The Raiders had a long list of shortcomings.

Dayton's defense made four errors, its offense banged just one hit and its pitching allowed five walks.

Brian Bickerton, Dayton's starter, went the distance and threw a four-hitter. But walks and errors were disastrous for him.

Baltimore Highlands took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a walk, a bad pick-off throw and a single by Melvin Musgrave.

Bickerton loaded the bases with two more walks, but escapedwithout allowing another run.

Dayton tied the game in the top of the fourth without benefit of a hit.

Baltimore Highlands starter Eric Scarborough, who retired the first nine Dayton batters, lost his control and walked three straight hitters: Eric Glenn, Bryan Egolf and Bickerton.

That forced Baltimore Highlands manager Dave Ambrose to bring in hard-throwing Melvin Musgrave, who had made a spectaculardiving catch in center field in the third to rob Mark Treccanelli ofa hit.

Musgrave fanned the first two batters he faced, but walkedMike Kelley and forced home Dayton's only run.

Baltimore Highlands then scored twice in the bottom of the fourth on three hits.

Thefirst two were line drives by Butch Partin and Bill Grieves. The third hit was a bad-hop single by Adam Keim to Dayton shortstop Joe Goldberg.

Baltimore Highlands added its final run in the fifth when Dayton second baseman Glenn dropped a pop-up.

The Baltimore Highlands runner, Mike Hall, moved to third on another error and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Rich Keys.

Musgrave gave up Dayton's only hit with one out in the last inning as Chris Leinauer bounced a ball up the middle into center field.

Musgrave fanned six and walked two in four innings.

Bickerton fanned eight in six innings, but was not getting his curve over the plate and relied heavily on his fastball.

It was an historic first win for Baltimore Highlands, which attracted a crowd of about 100 fans at Baltimore Highlands Elementary School.

"I'm glad to get this first one over with," Ambrose said.

Dayton manager George Bickerton was disappointed with his team's effort. "All I ask is that they give 100 percent, but I didn't get that tonight," Bickerton said.

"Baltimore Highlands' pitching was good, and you can't take that away from them, but they didn't see thereal Dayton Raiders tonight."

Baltimore Highlands draws its team members primarily from Lansdowne High School.

"We're mainly 10th- and 11th-graders," Ambrose said. "Our two pitchers tonight are our oldest players. They are a year out of high school. We have only two seniors and they were both at graduation tonight."

Ambrose said his best pitcher is sophomore Randy Ambrose, who played left field.

"He has six different pitches and can go seven innings."

The Raidersopen their home schedule tonight at Dayton Rod and Gun Club against Damascus.

They play Gaithersburg at home at noon Sunday, and have a big game against Dundalk at home Monday at 6 p.m.

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