SILVER SPRING — The Blake Bengals varsity baseball team notched its first win of the season in dramatic fashion on Friday by defeating the visiting Wheaton Knights 15-5 at Bengal Field.
The Bengals jumped out to an early lead after a prolific third inning and followed it up with an equally prolific fourth inning to put the Knights away in five.
Blake senior pitcher Phoenix Spiller was instrumental in his team’s victory, registering a game-high four RBI. Senior Anthony Wall and freshmen Jared Pollack and Mathew Lopez each finished with two RBI.
Knights freshman catcher Kelvin Pedroza led his team with three RBI in a losing effort.
Wheaton head coach Jim Bort attributed his team’s loss to two factors: overconfidence and lack of focus on the fundamentals.
“Our fielding was not good at all tonight. We have a lot of work to do there and they kind of exposed us tonight,” said Bort. “I don’t know if we felt overconfident after our win [against Northwood on Tuesday] or if we just didn’t execute the fundamentals. I think it was a combination of both.”
Even though the Bengals led by 12 points at the bottom of the fourth, the Knights had one last shot at bat. Wheaton earned two more runs before Blake freshman pitcher Liam Shields struck out one last Knight to signal the end of the game.
Blake head coach Steve Murfin said that since his team is made up of mostly underclassmen, the focus is on process just as much as outcome.
Murfin congratulates his younger players with game balls whenever they achieve a “first.” So far, Murfin has awarded eight game balls to various players for their accomplishments.
“I always remind everybody that the process is important. If we do the process right, the wins will happen,” he said. “We want to be a better team at all facets of the game by the end of the season. If we accomplish that, the wins will happen.”
Before the game, the Bengals gathered around the gate in front of the bleachers to attach a yellow ribbon in honor of Elizabeth Haley, the sister of former Blake baseball player Chris Haley. Fans in attendance were also provided with yellow ribbon stickers. Elizabeth Haley suffered a serious injury in a skiing accident in March and has been hospitalized ever since. The Bengals plan on having Haley throw out the first pitch when she is released from the hospital.
After a late start to the season, the Bengals are scheduled to play six games in eight days. Their next test is against perennial powerhouse Sherwood on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Knights will play Saturday at Springbrook.
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