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Taking a breather is a no-no

The Baltimore Sun

Marriotts Ridge junior pitcher Tim Blair is an old-school three-sport athlete. In the fall, he plays football. In the winter, it's basketball. And come spring, he takes to the mound. His favorite sport? "Whatever season it is," he said.

Blair and the Mustangs just completed a memorable season, bringing home the three-year-old school's first county championship with a 5-2 win against defending champ Centennial, and then advancing to the state final, in which they lost to Kent Island, 6-5. Marriotts Ridge reached the final after its 14-10 loss to South Hagerstown in the semifinals was overturned because the Washington County school violated the rule on pitching limitations.

During the regional playoff run, Blair tossed a no-hitter in the Mustangs' 2-0 win over River Hill. Over the summer, Blair plans to play club baseball through June and then prepare to become the Mustangs' starting quarterback next fall. He maintains a 3.6 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society. Part of the work he does with NHS is tutoring middle school and high school students in math and Spanish. At church, Blair is a Sunday school aide and helps deliver food to needy families.

How exciting was it becoming the first team of any kind to win a county title at Marriotts Ridge?

I know that boys lacrosse and girls tennis teams had the first chance [this spring]. In the back of our minds, we wanted the teams to win, but at the same time we wanted to be the first. We had our game the day after both of them. So, they both lost, and we were a little bummed about that. But at the same time, it opened up a new door that we could be the first team. It was exciting. Nobody is ever going to do that again. We're the first ones ever at Marriots Ridge.

What's the feeling of throwing a no-hitter in a playoff game?

I had no idea until the sixth inning. I asked our manager for the scorebook to see what the kids coming up had done. So I look at it and see no hits. There was like two errors and a walk. So I'm like, "Wow, this could happen." Then in the sixth inning I shut them down, seventh inning I shut them down. I just wasn't thinking about it all game because it was scoreless until the sixth, when we pulled out two runs. The grit the team has is incredible. When that last out happened - I think only a few kids on the team realized it until Coach said something about it.

How do you get ready for a game on a day you're pitching?

I just chill out on the bench for about an hour and listen to music. I have a set play list and just blare it loud in my ears, make myself angry, so I go out pitching with fire and a purpose. And I use things in my past to motivate me to pitch well. It comes out on the field, and I pitch with passion.

What is the best advice you've received?

To stay within yourself, stay confident but don't get cocky. I can think of one example this year against Reservoir. I had three games, early success, and I went to Reservoir thinking I can take care of them and I'm not worried about it. That first inning, they ripped off hit after hit after hit. That was the only time I've really been roughed up - I think I gave up five earned runs in that first inning. I was like, "Whoa, you need to stay within yourself and keep playing better." Ever since then, it's just like, "Reservoir - calm down, take a breather and go out and get things done. Take nothing for granted."

What do you get from helping out students as a tutor?

I tutor math and sometimes Spanish [at the middle school]. I do that here as well - Spanish I and II and pre-calculus and Algebra I and II. It's helping kids. It's fun to help people out. They enjoy it and learn, you enjoy it and you get great satisfaction from just doing good things and helping other people.

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