Oakland Mills was expected to be one of the top baseball teams in the county this year.
So when the Scorpions lost their first three league games, Scorpion fans wondered what was wrong.
Friday afternoon against two-time defending county champ Atholton, the Scorpions finally won their first league game with a 12-0 decision on a five-hit complete game from right-hander Joe Coughlan.
"We've been in a hitting slump," catcher Tony Scarzello said. Scarzellorapped two hits in the victory.
Scarzello was batting .200 cominginto the game, and the team average was just .220.
"You can't getmuch going offensively when you're hitting like that," Scorpions' coach Joe Shepherd said. "We needed this one today, but it's still going to be uphill from here."
Oakland Mills (3-5 overall, 1-3 league)had a total of 10 hits and 13 walks off Atholton's three pitchers, Marc Trecannelli, Brian Egolf and Brian Gick.
Trecannelli, a juniormaking his first varsity start, allowed most of the scoring damage.
In four innings of work he gave up seven hits and seven runs, walked seven, hit a batter, made four wild pitches and committed an erroron a pick-off throw. On the positive side, he fanned three, picked off a runner and didn't allow an extra-base hit.
Oakland Mills jumped on Trecannelli for four runs on three hits in the top of the first inning.
Brian Lopez, one of the few Scorpions who has been hitting well -- .375 -- led off with a walk. And Steve Finkill, batting .300, also walked.
Travis Williams, Oakland Mills' top hitter with a .400 average, followed with a solid single to left to load the bases.
The Oakland Mills hitting slump has been so bad that Shepherd then decided to call for a squeeze bunt from clean-up batter Andy Young. Young bunted perfectly for an RBI and was thrown out by Trecannelli.
"We didn't want that opportunity to get away from us without scoring," said Shepherd of the unorthodox move.
Scarzello followed with an RBI single. Coughlan walked. And Matt Donovan rapped a two-runsingle to right field for the third and fourth runs.
Donovan broke out of a slump with three hits and two RBI. He entered the game batting just .167.
Oakland Mills added a run in the third inning on asingle by Donovan, a passed ball, a walk to Steve Kavakos, a single by Todd Lockwood and a squeeze bunt by Lopez.
The Scorpions scoredtwo more in the fourth inning. Williams led off with a single, stolesecond base, went to third on an infield single by Young and scored on a wild pitch. Young later scored on an error.
Egolf took the mound for Atholton in the fifth and retired the side in order.
"I was thinking maybe I had pushed the wrong button and maybe should have started Egolf," Atholton Coach Kevin Kelly said. "But Egolf has been having control problems all year."
And in the sixth inning, the left-handed Egolf's control deserted him again, as he walked five batters, including two with the bases loaded.
Oakland Mills scored fivetimes in that inning and sent 11 batters to the plate.
The Scorpions got only two hits in the inning, a double by Scarzello and an infield single by Lockwood.
But six walks and a balk did a lot of damage. Lopez, Finkill and Williams all got RBI from walking with the bases loaded. One run scored on a balk by Egolf and one on Lockwood's single.
Gick, Atholton's best pitcher this year, relieved Egolf after the first four runs, but he walked the first batter he faced, forcing in Oakland Mills' 12th run before retiring Young and the side on a ground out.
"We hate to use the excuse that we're young to explain why we're not winning, but after a game like this maybe that's what we have to start doing," Kelly said.
Atholton's record dropped to 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the league.
Coughlan improved his pitching record to 2-1. He had a 1.80 ERA.
"His curve wasn't working today, but he got by with his fastball," Shepherd said. "He only threw about six curves."
Coughlan does not have overpowering speed, but itwas plenty good enough against the Raiders, who also have not hit well this year.
"We only have two players over .300," Kelly said. "That's Brian Van Deusen and Brian Hannah."
Coughlan fanned three and walked just two, while his defense played errorless ball. At the plate, Coughlan continued to slump with no hits in three official at-bats. He walked twice.
Coming into the game, he was batting .158. And he was one of Oakland Mills' best hitters last season.