By Anna Dunlavey; @annadunlaveyy
Despite a late comeback that tied the game, the DC Grays lost their home opener to the Baltimore Redbirds last night in front of a Nationals Academy crowd that included local youth baseball players from Mamie Johnson Little League and Southern District Little League, who were honored before the game. The Redbirds scored in the top of the ninth for a 4-3 win. The DC Grays’ record is now 1-2 on the young Ripken League season.
The Redbirds scored first, plating two runs in the third. The Grays got a run back in the fifth, when DH Kurt Sinnen (Old Dominion) singled, and then reached second, third, and scored all on wild pitches. The race for home was a close one, with Sinnen and the Redbirds’ catcher reaching the plate at almost the same time, but Sinnen just barely beat him. The Grays were within one, but in the top of the sixth, the Redbirds answered to bring the score to 3-1.
The Grays rallied bottom of the seventh. LF Bryan Baquer (Washington College) doubled with one out, and after a pitching change for the Redbirds, Baquer scored on a long double from SS Jackson Kramer (Lafayette). CF Desmond Stegall (Grambling State), back for his third season with the Grays, who has entered the game earlier, delivered with two outs. He blasted a triple out to deep centerfield, scoring Kramer and tying the game at 3.
Unfortunately, the Redbirds were the ones to break the tie. In the top of the ninth, after giving up a walk and a single, Grays’ starting pitcher Maverik Buffo (Brigham Young) tired. Buffo had pitched a solid eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out four batters in his first Grays’ start. He was relieved by Reid Frazier (Penn State). The first batter he faced bunted, and when Frazier threw the ball away, the Redbirds runner on second was able to score. Frazier was tagged with an error and Buffo took the loss.
Today, the Grays return to the Nationals Youth Academy to take on the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League’s other Baltimore team, the Baltimore Dodgers. The game will start at 1PM, and John Cain (Lafayette) is the expected starting pitcher.