Lonnie McLain was caught stealing against Francis Scott Key Post 11’s American Legion baseball team in the top of the sixth inning on Tuesday.
It didn’t sit well with him.
“I got a good jump on the steal in the sixth on the play, but they still got me out,” McLain, Woodsboro’s center fielder, said.
He got a chance at redemption in the top of the eighth with no outs and the bases loaded. McLain wasn’t about to miss this opportunity.
He drove a fly ball to deep center field, deep enough to score Brett Buschman from third on a sacrifice fly for the game’s lone run. Woodsboro then retired Frederick in order in the bottom of the eighth for a 1-0 win at McCurdy Field in the Western Maryland District opener for both teams.
Buschman led off the top of the eighth for Woodsboro (1-1, 1-0) with a single to left field. Thomas Fogle punched a sharp grounder between first and second for a single, and Mike Jones walked to load the bases.
Frederick starter Brendan Johnson, who had reached his pitch-count limit, was pulled in favor of Trevor Barnhouse. McLain followed with his sacrifice fly to center.
“That’s baseball,” Post 11 manager Matt Myers said of the one-run loss. “It was still a great game today.”
Woodsboro manager Tim Copenhaver agreed.
“Well-played by both teams,” he said. “To get that first win to start your district schedule is big. With the number of teams in the district this year, it’s going to be interesting. There are a lot of good teams in the district this year.”
The Western Maryland District team members grew to six in the offseason. Boonsboro’s Clopper-Michael Post 10 is the latest entry, drawing players from Boonsboro, as well as parts of Middletown and Brunswick High Schools.
Frederick, Woodsboro, Boonsboro, Funkstown, Mount Airy and Sykesville make up the Western Maryland District. To make things interesting, the top two teams in the district will meet in a best-of-three district playoff series one week before the state tournament.
“This will keep the interest going in the district race throughout the season,” Copenhaver said. “I like the setup.”
Myers agrees with the new format, adding teams falling out of the running late in the season could play spoiler to contenders near the top of the standings.
Both teams played near-flawless baseball Tuesday. There were plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the game, but the combination of pitching and defense on both sides snuffed them out. Woodsboro stranded five baserunners. Frederick (6-4, 0-1) left eight on base.
Tuesday’s game also featured impressive pitching. Mark Rogers (Catoctin High) worked six-plus innings before giving way to Buschman, who picked up the win in relief.
Rogers, a lefty side-armer, scattered four hits with four strikeouts, three walks and one wild pitch. He developed some issues with his mechanics in the late innings.
“I was getting off my rhythm late in the game,” he said. “It just didn’t feel right.”
Buschman allowed one hit the rest of the way with a strikeout.
Johnson had six strikeouts with two walks for Frederick.
Fogle had the only multi-hit game for either team. Rogers had a double in the fourth.
Dalton Kephart doubled in the sixth for Frederick.