Apopka Attacks Lake Mary Early For The Win
Apopka took the lead early on and held on the rest of the way to beat Lake Mary 3-1 in the night cap of the Big Blue Bonanza at Lake Brantley.
The Blue Darters took full advantage of the first two walks of the game. Nadeem Haddad started off on the mound high in the zone, resulting on walking two people with no outs.
“I think the first inning of the game we had two walks, which obviously helps us see more pitches and get him out of the game earlier,” said Apopka manager Eric Lassiter, who graduated from Apopka in 2002 and has been with the program for five years. “We left too many runners in scoring position, because we got on base a lot. I think we had a lot of guys get on to start the inning and then we kind of coasted through after the third inning and weren’t able to scratch anything across after that. That’s something we need to improve.”
Haddad shook off the nerves and started to find his groove when shortstop Nick Barber stepped up to the plate and hit a triple to score two runs in the second inning. You could literally hear Barber’s excitement when he slid into third screaming, “Let’s Go!” to his fellow teammates.
“We just need to take it one game at a time, we need to focus on our game on Saturday first and just win them one game at a time,” said Barber, who is committed to East Carolina University. “Right now we’ve been pitching pretty well. We’re sticking to our game plan, just doing what we do.”
In the fourth, pitcher Jonathan Elicier scrambled up the third run by drawing a throw on a delay steal to third and getting an overthrow to score.
The game looked like it was going to turn around when Connor Udell stepped on the plate and shut down Apopka’s lineup. Apopka was unable to score another run, but Lake Mary had a difficult time stringing together hits Thursday evening.
Hitting a home run over the left field fence, designated hitter Jonathen Burkett, brought a glimpse of a come back for Lake Mary by getting the Rams on the scoreboard.
“For us, it’s a learning process. I’m a first year coach here so I’m trying to put my system into place and get these guys to believe in what we are doing,” said new manager Jeff Perez, who coached at Winter Springs for 16 years and this is his first year with Lake Mary. “The fact that they fought all the way through is something that I like. We didn’t hit enough. We gave up too many walks, too many freebies, but that’s part of it. On to Game Two of the season.”