The wake-up call came too late for the Dayton Raiders in their American Legion league opener Monday night.
A two-run, last-inning Dayton rally failed to catch defending North-Central District champion A.J. Raveio, as the Raiders lost, 7-4, at Baltimore Highlands Elementary School.
Most of the Dayton team celebrated senior week at the beach last week (when the Raiders had no games scheduled), and the lack of baseball activity showed on Monday.
"I wasn't concerned that we lost, because we'll lose other games," Coach George Bickerton said. "But I was concerned that we beat ourselves by making too many mistakes, physical and mental. It was a poor exhibition."
Dayton went ahead, 1-0, in the third inning. Dave Prestiani led off with a single, and Eric Glenn followed with a walk. Prestiani later scored on an error.
But Raveio, which is 2-3 on the season, scored five runs in the bottom of the third on three hits, two walks and a sacrifice bunt.
Four of the six players walked by Dayton starting pitcher Bryan Egolf eventually scored. Egolf gave up just five hits and fanned eight in six innings.
Raveio added two unearned runs in the fourth on two walks, two wild pitches and a throwing error by catcher Darin Nelson.
Dayton scored once in the fifth inning on a walk and a stolen base by Eric Glenn, and an RBI single by Brian Bickerton.
Dayton's final two runs crossed in the seventh. Glenn led off with a walk, and Bickerton doubled him home.
Raveio replaced starting pitcher Rob Parsons with Randy Musgrove, and Mike Fadrowski greeted him with an RBI single.
A base-running blunder spoiled what could have been a bigger inning. Egolf fanned but reached first when the ball escaped the Raveio catcher's mitt. But Fadrowski tried to score from third base and was thrown out at home on the play.
Mark Trecannelli then grounded out and Todd Messner fanned to end the game.
Glenn reached base four times on walks and scored twice. He reached base six times in Dayton's 9-8 win over Gaithersburg Post 295 Sunday. That was a non-league game for Dayton, which is 3-1-1 overall.
Trecannelli, who reached base all six times Sunday, also reached base in his first two at-bats against Raveio before flying out to left field in the sixth.
Brian Bickerton and Prestiani each had two hits against Raveio. Bickerton had the game-winning hit Sunday against Gaithersburg.
"We're capable of being as good as any team in our league," Coach Bickerton said.
Dayton's starting lineup had Prestiani in center, Glenn at second base, Bickerton at shortstop, Fadrowski in left field, Trecannelli in right field, Messner at first base, Nelson catching and Ryan McQueeny at third base.
Other Raiders include infielders Mike Carter, James Chang and Chris Leinauer; catchers Greg Corrick and Rusty Shown; and pitcher Mike Miller. Messner, Bickerton and Egolf along with Miller comprise Dayton's starting pitching rotation.
Dayton's first home game is Friday at 6 p.m. against Essex at the Dayton Rod and Gun Club.