The Greens Farms Academy and King baseball teams spent their spring breaks in Orlando, tuning up for the season in the warm Florida sun. So it was understandable that an Opening Day that barely cracked 40 degrees led to cold hands and stiff defense Tuesday. The two teams combined for eight errors, but the team that took advantage of them was King.
Dragons ace Henry Van Zant, tabbed by many as one of the best pitchers in the state, could not recover from his team's poor defense. King put up nine runs in two innings and ran away with the season opener over Greens Farms, 12-6.
"We swung the bats real well in Florida, and I thought we played great defense. We didn't make an error in two games down there," GFA head coach Todd Matthewson said. "We just weren't crisp, and we just made a lot of mistakes that aren't characteristic of our defense."
Unable to control his fastball in the unseasonably cold weather, Van Zant relied too often on his off-speed pitches. Once the King hitters started looking for off-speed and found solid contact, Van Zant was chased from the game. Van Zant walked only one batter and struck out five in 3 2/3 innings.
It was the defense that ultimately doomed the Dragons, however. Greens Farms committed three errors trying to pick off King runners, leading to four unearned runs. The Vikings plated nine runs on just five hits across the fourth and fifth innings.
Greens Farms struggled to get on base against King starter Scott Huley. Cleanup hitter Christian Papic was one of the few offensive bright spots for the Dragons, going three-for-three with a walk, a triple, and three runs scored.
Greens Farms Academy opens its home slate Wednesday when it hosts Millbrook Academy in a nonleague game.
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