Feb. 20, 2014
Throughout the 2014 season, senior right-handed pitcher Alex Lakatos will give fans an inside look at Team 148. The first edition of "Penned from the 'Pen" talks about a wild opening weekend at the Texas State Invitational.
Aside from this being opening weekend, this was definitely a weekend of firsts. Never before have I been involved in two four-hour games (in the same day), a power outage mid-game and a tie.
We started off the season firing on all cylinders, scoring five runs in the first two innings, and playing with a great deal of emotion. It's safe to say that after five months of preparation, Team 148 was pretty jacked up to be playing somebody wearing a different colored jersey. We had Texas State right where we wanted them, but unfortunately, took the foot off the gas pedal and coasted for the remained of the game, allowing them to come back and walk-us-off in the bottom of the 10th.
I'm not going to lie, it felt a lot like Groundhog Day. Last year, we started off the season by getting beat three straight times in the bottom of the ninth against Cal. But, we knew we had to flush the first loss and get back on the horse, because the last thing we needed after a demoralizing, emotional loss, was to allow that to linger in the back of our minds and effect game 2.
Game 2, against Washington started late (two hours after the schedule start time, and 10:30 local time). Coach Bakich did a phenomenal job of rallying the troops and reiterating that Game 1 was behind us and in order for us to be successful we needed to flush the first game, and grind through it. Fortunately for us, we received contributions all day from newcomers playing big roles.
The offensive attack was led by Jackson Glines, Travis Maezes and Jacob Cronenworth. Jackson "Mad-Dog" Lamb was huge for us off the bench, giving us a lift with a pinch hit double, that plated two runs and got us back on top. Unfortunately, Washington delivered two knockout punches, in the form of two late-inning home runs and won in walk-off-fashion.
As far as opening days go, it was tough to lose two close games in such a terrible way. We had both teams on the defensive and were leading for a vast majority of the 20+ innings. Now I am willing to concede the notion that there is no such thing as a "good loss," however, spirits remained high and we knew that if we continued to have so much success offensively, that we would be in a good position to win games moving forward.
After a much needed 24 hours to recollect ourselves and get off our feet, we felt good going into Saturday night's game against Air Force. Fortunately for us, Ben Ballantine delivered a fantastic pitching performance.
Last year, Bally went down with a horrific, season ending ankle injury. I know it was extremely encouraging for not only himself, but for all our teammates to see him back on the bump, pitching that well.
I spoke earlier about this weekend being one of firsts, and the victory itself, gave Coach Bakich his 100th victory as a head coach.
We were back at it Sunday morning with a chance to even the score with Washington. Spirits were high and we jumped out to another commanding lead, 6-0 after the first three innings. Offensively, we strung together a bunch of quality-at-bats and took advantage of some defensive mistakes from Washington.
As many good teams do, Washington never gave up and slowly chipped away at the lead, until it was eventually knotted in the eighth. This is where things got crazy. Because of time restrictions and travel schedules, we were forced to end the game in a 7-7 tie.
As far as opening weekends go, this one didn't go exactly as planned. But there were many positive takeaways, such as the contributions offensively from many new faces, and solid pitching performances from Ben Ballantine and Logan McAnallen.