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Eagles fall by one in opener

The Centennial baseball team musters just three hits Wednesday against Milwaukie

The Centennial baseball team opened the season on Wednesday, but the Eagles found they still have plenty of offseason rust to scrape away. The lackluster Eagles fell to Milwaukie in a 3-2 decision.

Centennial lacked urgency most of the evening. Despite having just 10 players in uniform, the Mustangs were loud and enthusiastic, several notches above the Eagles.

The Eagles’ missing energy showed up on the field of play, specifically in the batter’s box. They tallied just three hits in the loss. Centennial’s only hit through four innings was a bunt single by Brendan Ritschard.

“I thought we were passive offensively, especially early on,” Centennial coach Kevin Christie said. “I think it was a mental thing. We didn’t have a good approach at the plate; I don’t think we had many good at-bats. We swung at a lot of bad pitches.”

Even still, Centennial had opportunities to take the lead and win the game. It trailed 3-0 at the end of four innings, but plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and the bases loaded, Eagles third baseman Rhys Atkinson laced a line drive down the right-field line. The rip would have scored two runs – maybe three – but Milwaukie first baseman Riley Howard stretched up and snagged it to end the inning.

The Eagles got the potential tying run to second base in the sixth and seventh innings, but could not deliver a clutch hit. Centennial left nine runners base, seven in scoring position. It was 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

The bright spot in the Centennial lineup was No. 9 hitter Devin Fitzgerald. He walked, scored a run and produced two of the Eagles’ three base hits. Ritschard also scored and reached base three times.

On the mound, lefty Dawson Day experienced some uncharacteristic struggles in his first outing. He surrendered three hits, two walks and three runs, and he hit four batters in 2.1 innings.

“He was sick today,” Christie said. “He said he could go, but I probably should have held him out another day. He will be just fine, I’m not worried about him at all. That is obviously not be to be typical from him this season.”

Centennial travels to South Albany on Friday and travel to Redmond to begin spring break Monday.