SILVER SPRING – The Northwest Jaguars dominated the Blair Blazers in Monday night boys baseball, keeping the home team scoreless until a close call at the bottom of the seventh.
The Jaguars were on top of their game Monday, but what hurt the Blazers the most was the combination of heavy hitters on the Jaguars squad and costly infield and outfield errors.
“It was nice to get the bases loaded, kind of get the feel that we want to get, going into the playoffs, but we expect to play like that every inning,” said junior second baseman Zachery Dunn.
Easy balls slipped from the Blazers’ hands, and the Jaguars took advantage of their mistakes by stealing bases at a moment’s notice, putting the Blazers in a tight defensive spot.
Scoring started when a line drive by senior outfielder Ryan Kennington brought home junior outfielder Jordan Qassis in the third inning. Senior first baseman Michael Yullie hit a single to the right, too far for the Blazers’ first baseman to reach, and brought home senior pitcher Mac Adelman.
The fifth and the sixth inning brought the hammer down on the Blazers, and by the end of the sixth inning, a Blazer comeback seemed improbable.
The Jaguars scored three runs each in the fifth and sixth innings, and they headed into the seventh and final inning with a stunning 8-0 lead.
But the Blazers did not give in and went for five runs at the bottom of the seventh.
In fact, the bottom of the seventh inning was a complete turnaround. After ending the Jaguars’ turn at bat with quick outs, the Blazers proceeded to keep the bases loaded for most of their inning.
“To be honest, most of the game we weren’t really focusing on the game, didn’t show a lot of fight so I just challenged them not to quit,” said Blazers head coach Eric Zolkiewicz
A single by senior center fielder Ryan Bratton brought home junior centerfielder Chas Goldman for the first run of the night for the Blazers, and four more runs from the home team brought the score to 8-5, three runs shy of the equalizer.
Senior pitcher Scott Gahart was caught out, however, and the game ended with a close near-comeback loss for the Blazers and a surprisingly confident Jaguars squad.
“I got confidence in [Zach] Greber, who came in there. I didn’t second guess that at all. I mean, I knew he was going to get us out of there. I’ve been fairly confident with him all year, so I wasn’t worried,” said Jaguars head coach Todd Varesco about senior pitcher Zach Greber, who closed the game for the Jaguars.