By Dominic Varela
The D.C. Grays tasted victory for the first time this season on Tuesday night, defeating the Olney Cropdusters 3-1 at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy. Mitchell right-hander Eddie Kaftan picked up the win, tossing eight innings of two-hit, one-run ball. East Stroudsburg’s Alec Snyder was tagged with the loss after conceding two runs in his first start of the year.
The Grays struck early, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a single from Delaware State’s Evan Bouldin that scored Lafayette’s Kaleb Willis. D.C. tacked on another run in the fourth on another RBI single that pushed Willis across, this time off the bat of BYU’s Parker Goff.
Bouldin and Willis each had two hits, with Willis’s seventh inning single scoring the third and final Gray run of the night. The club as a whole managed seven hits and three walks.
Kaftan faced the minimum through three before allowing a single in the fourth. The Cropdusters managed to scratch a run across in the top of the fifth, but it was to no avail as Kaftan and William & Mary southpaw Adam Fischer combined to shut them out the rest of the way. “I was just trying to bring in the same mindset and game plan that I had all season, which worked out pretty well,” Kaftan said. “I was able to execute my pitches low in the zone today, so it just rolled right through it. Felt like two quick innings of work.” Despite a pitch count in the 80s through seven innings of work, Kaftan was sent out for the top of the eighth. However, a 1-2-3 inning sealed the 94-pitch effort. “The pitch count wasn’t really on my mind,” Kaftan said. “It felt like my workload was pretty light all day today, so I felt like I was 50 pitches in by the time it was the eighth.”
Following a season-opening loss to the Southern Maryland Senators on Monday, the Grays’ record now stands at 1-1. D.C. will face off against the Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts Thursday at 7 p.m. at Montgomery Blair Stadium. “I think we’re in great shape going into the next game because our bullpen is nice and rested, and we’ll have our whole team ready to bring some runs, too,” Kaftan said.