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Rocket Bats Quiet in Home Opener

Belmont Wins 2-0
The 2024 Rockets baseball team assembled before their home opener.

Reading baseball’s home opener was a well fought pitcher’s duel that sadly ended up a 2-0  loss to Belmont.

In the first inning, the Rockets showed off their defense as seniors Tyler Abreu and Chris Hanifan made sensational diving plays to get out of the first, only giving up one run. In the middle innings, both pitchers continued to square off, with limited opportunities for both teams to score. As the seventh inning loomed, the score continued to stay 1-0 Belmont. 

Once the seventh arrived, the Belmont Marauders were able to get base runners from a hit-by-pitch and a base hit. As a result, Michael Baylis (’24) entered the game and was able to get the Rockets out of a no out jam; however, a sacrifice fly in his relief appearance changed Belmont’s lead to 2-0. Unfortunately, the two run deficit was too deep of a hole to pull out the win, as going 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th led to their first loss of the season.

The offensive struggles were mainly due to Belmont’s ability to consistently get ahead of hitters.    Head coach and social studies teacher Mr. Blanchard said, “You got to be up there ready to hit. I keep stats on this kind of thing– batting average dramatically drops off every time you take a strike, and I think they’re still learning about how to have an approach.”  Blanchard continued, “We haven’t had a lot of life at-bats. So today, in an ironic way, is kind of a good thing because it’s helping us to learn the lesson.” 

As of the current moment, the  Rockets are third in the Middlesex-Liberty division. They are looking to repeat their division champion status from last year.

Player of the Game: Ethan LeBovidge (’25)

Ethan was the Rockets’ starter against the Belmont Marauders on Wednesday. In the first inning, he gave up a walk and a base hit. Luckily, he got out of the first without any damage and locked it down in the middle innings, only allowing three hits in that span. Ethan struck out four hitters total in the game and was able to get through the sixth inning without giving up a run. Unfortunately, he ended up getting the loss after giving up only two runs in his first start of the season.

When asked about Ethan’s performance, Coach Blanchard replied, “He got stronger as the game went on. [He] showed a lot of mental toughness–good adjustments he made physically, and at the end of the day, he only allowed a handful of hits and two runs.”  Overall, Ethan confidently took charge on the mound Wednesday and will continue to be a key piece in the Rockets’ starting rotation for the 2024 season. 

What Does This Mean For the Future?

Reading looks to improve their 1-1 record with a home game against the Medford Mustangs on Monday, April 15th. Offensive production will be a key factor in the result of the game. We have seen the Rockets have a successful day at the plate, one being against the Stoneham Spartans in a 10-0 Rockets win on Tuesday, April 9th.  Sophomore Alex Merkle and senior captain Will Moore collected multiple hits, and the team showed excellent patience at the plate, drawing four walks. If the Rockets successfully rack up hits through being smart-aggressive at the plate and limit base runners on the pitching side, they can get the win over Medford.

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