By Katie Carrera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 3, 2009
For 15 days, the Huntingtown High School baseball team suffered from cabin fever. Stuck inside for practices and workouts and unable to get a game in because of rainouts, the Hurricanes grew stir-crazy. As the days passed without a game, some players began to wonder how the team would react when it took the field again.
But in the five games since they returned outdoors, the Hurricanes have proved they had nothing to worry about. They rattled off five wins in seven days and scored 50 runs in the process.
Perhaps even sweeter for Huntingtown is that it capped last week with a 16-11 win Friday over arch-rival Calvert High, which is the only team to have defeated the Hurricanes this season.
"I know I wanted to beat them really bad, extremely bad," said shortstop Tony Bowen, who was 4 for 5 with two home runs and three runs scored. "Even though it wasn't that big of a deal in SMAC standings, seeds or regional standings, it's still a county rival. It's still Calvert."
The game wasn't pretty -- it featured a combined eight errors, five passed balls and three wild pitches -- but it helped erase the memory of an embarrassing 16-4 rule loss to the Cavaliers (11-5, 9-5) on March 27. The win also brought Huntingtown (13-1-1, 12-1-1 SMAC) closer to the conference title, as the Hurricanes own a two-game advantage with three contests remaining against McDonough, Thomas Stone and Leonardtown.
Although the sloppy defense emerged last week for the Hurricanes, its offensive onslaught remained. Huntingtown scored in all but the sixth inning against Calvert, and all but one batter recorded a hit and a run.
Six Huntingtown players scored multiple runs, and Bowen, Spencer Wolfe and Chris Gaines all knocked home runs.
"We worked to come back up to the plate and hit the ball and make up for all the errors," said Gaines, who had four home runs in the week.
"That was the thing that kept us in all our games this week and got us the win" Friday, added Gaines, who is one of nine juniors on the team. "That hitting builds a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence for us. The beginning of the year, we weren't hitting the ball so much, and now lately we have the hot bats."
Bowen, a senior, was quick to point out that the Hurricanes must try to button-down their defense if they hope to make an extended run in the postseason. But Bowen and Coach Guy Smith echoed Gaines's sentiment that Huntingtown is playing with a swagger that can cure a lot of ills.
"Once you win one, you get a lot of confidence, and you think you can just keep doing it and keep doing it," Smith said. "I think it just snowballed."