Dougherty Valley’s Varsity baseball team secured a consistent lead throughout the game against Liberty on Opening Day, ending with a solid score of 4-2.
The Liberty Lions started out strong, barely managing to get a man onto base. Dougherty was less lucky,ending the inning in just 3 batters, including Tommy Jew, who struck out in three pitches.
“At first our team was too “amped” or jittery” said center fielder Michael Pangelinan. “we played very tense causing some careless mistakes to happen.”
But the Wildcats got serious in the third inning. The defense worked to an excellent advantage, letting no men on base at the top of the inning. Dougherty Pitcher James Martinez performed exceptionally, striking out the first batter of the inning.
“I feel that we came together as a team very well.” said Pangelinan.
Pangelinan managed to get on base this inning, and thanks to some sly base stealing, scored for Dougherty’s second run of the game. Joining him was Evan Seidell, who scored after an ear shattering fly ball got him to first base.
Seniors Trent Ruckman and Nick Coppola were both consecutively walked by Liberty’s pitcher, RJ Prince, allowing yet another run this inning. The inning was a devastating blow to Liberty, ending the inning 4-0.
By the fourth inning, the Lions were determined to catch up. Dominic Smith scored a run between batters, finally putting Liberty on the board. But before they could completely retaliate, Dougherty caught a foul ball, ending the top half of the inning.
Pitcher RJ Prince was replaced by Andrew Davidson after The Lions’ disastrous third inning. Davidson pushed for prevention, as the Wildcats simply could not score against Davidson’s pitching.
The fifth inning was a ravenous standoff between the two teams. Dougherty fought hard to keep their lead, with their defense allowing no one onto base. However, Liberty struck back with the same force, quickly advancing to the next inning. The Lions found another small victory in the sixth inning, just barely getting another run, making the score 4-2.
The Wildcats’ victory was on the line in the seventh and final inning. But excellent field play by Pangelinan and Jew kept the Wildcats safe, each catching a fly ball for the final outs of the game.
Despite the valiant effort of Liberty, they could not come back from the faltering. The Wildcats emerged victorious for the first game of the season.
“We really just stuck to the basics and executed it really well,” said junior Reno Zemrak.
The Wildcats will need to step it up against their game with Granada, a team with only 2 losses this season, on April 4.