The Great Neck North varsity baseball team dropped its season opening matchup to the Bellmore JFK Cougars, 8-0, Tuesday afternoon. A combination of sloppy defense and an outstanding opposing pitching performance stymied the Blazers in the first game of the new year.
“We faced a very good pitcher” said head coach James Bailin. “He’s one of the best pitchers in Nassau County. Offensively we needed to do a little bit more.”
The Blazers were held hitless in the game and the Cougars’ pitching kept the opposition off balance at the plate and off the scoreboard.
The Cougars got the scoring started in the first inning with two outs. An error, which should of ended the inning, allowed the game’s first run. From that point on, the Cougars would never relinquish the lead.
Two innings later, the Cougars loaded the bases twice and took a 5-0 lead into the bottom half of the third. One inning later, they loaded the bases full and tacked on another run and in the top of the seventh, two more runs would come in.
Blazers senior starting pitcher Eric Bernstein took the loss tossing 6.1 innings, striking out five, walking two and four earned runs.
Senior catcher Jake Guggenheimer went 0-for-1 with a pair of walks. He said the team couldn’t execute the few opportunities to score they had, but thinks this team still has a chance to be successful as the season progresses.
“Most of baseball is mental” said Guggenheimer. “We need to keep a good head collectively as a team. That will really help us.”
With this loss in the rearview mirror, the Blazers will focus on what lies ahead. Bailin said he feels his team needs to have a better approach at the plate and stressed that they need to work on hitting the ball the other way and making better contact.
Bailin added that with an interesting mix of youth and veterans, he has the confidence in his group to be competitive in their conference.
After moving into the Nassau A-1 Conference this year, Bailin expects his squad to win some games, compete hard and hopefully make it into the playoffs.
Great Neck North will play their next home game Monday April 4 against Sewanhaka at 4:30 p.m.