Mount Hebron's Adam Grap hit two homers and drove in seven runs to power the defending county champions to a league-opening 11-7 victory over host Long Reach yesterday.
Long Reach, 8-6 losers to No. 2 Severna Park Saturday, knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs a year ago in the Class 3A East region semifinals with a 7-6, extra-inning victory.
Grap said that loss to Long Reach motivated him a little bit. "Not that much. I just wanted to get off to a good start," said Grap.
Grap didn't catch yesterday because of some tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, but he caught last summer for the Maryland Orioles, a team that won the NABF World Series in Michigan.
Both home runs came off Long Reach starting left-hander Ryan Pope. One was about 375 feet to left field and the other was about 330 feet to left.
"Both were on off-speed pitches," said Grap, who had his only homer last season off Pope.
Mount Hebron coach Matt Forsyth said: "Adam just hit the living daylights out of the ball. I'm glad to get Long Reach out of the way. I was nervous knowing that with their hitting they can pop back into a game at any time."
The Vikings (1-0 overall, 1-1 league) scored three runs in each of the first three innings off Pope.
Grap had an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, a three-run homer in the second inning, and a two-run home run in the third inning. He drove in a run on a groundout in the fourth off Long Reach reliever Andrew Sinclair, who held Mount Hebron to two hits over the last four innings.
"Grap had the kind of day everyone dreams about and showed why he's one of the elite hitters in the county," said Lightning coach Tim O'Brien.
Other Mount Hebron hitters also had big days. Leadoff hitter Andrew Hoffner walked three times and singled. Ricky Choi hit two doubles and walked twice. Jordan Moore hit an RBI single and walked twice. Kevin Lambert walked three times. Long Reach pitchers walked a total of 10 batters and gave up nine hits.
Mount Hebron starting pitcher Jonathan Raglin, a 6-foot-2 junior right-hander with good control, threw the first four innings and allowed seven hits, one walk and four runs against the hard-hitting Lightning (0-1, 0-2).
O'Brien said Raglin was pretty sharp for this early in the season. "It shows what offseason work can do. He pushed hard and deserved the win."
Joe Lake, who has signed with James Madison and hit .471 last season, led a nine-hit Long Reach offense with two doubles.