It has been an up and down season for Cougar baseball so far. They sit at a 10-5 record currently, while riding a four-game winning streak after dropping two straight in mid-April. This team has the talent to continue the winning tradition at QO, but players will have to improve in a couple of areas before the playoffs roll around.
The last two games of this winning streak both ended in a one-point victory for the Cougars. QO traveled to Whitman High School on April 29 winning 7-6, and hosted Paint Branch High School on April 26 winning 6-5. The Cougars did just enough to hold off their opponents with seven hits in each game.
The first two games of this winning streak, however, against Kennedy High School and Gaithersburg High School were a completely different story. QO comfortably beat Gaithersburg 7-1 thanks to four crucial runs in the fifth inning, and then exploded against Kennedy with a 14-3 victory.
Earlier games against Albert Einstein High School on April 20 and Clarksburg High School on April 21 might have turned into a momentum shift in the season. The Cougars’ offense has gotten more consistent, especially in the later innings. Junior Ethan Frank attributes the sudden high-power offensive to aggression. “We have been trying to get more aggressive at the plate, waiting for our pitches, and doing what we can with them,” he said. “In doing that, it has allowed us to feed off one another and be more effective in hitting.”
The pitching for the Cougars has been one thing that hasn’t changed much since the beginning—it has been reliable all season. Seniors Griffin Mann, Jason Zimmerman, and Garrett Beloff have all been key contributors on the mound. According to Beloff, the work that the crew put in during the offseason has really prepared them for this important role. He added, “We work on hitting our spots, making good pitches and throwing strikes. So far we have been relatively successful in doing so.”
Mann has seen a lot of growth in his team thus far. He described the Cougars at the beginning of the season as not having “a lot of energy” and playing “selfishly, just worrying about our own success, which made it hard to win as a team.” But as all great teams do, they were able to turn this around. Mann said, “After the Paint Branch game practice was rescheduled due to rain, it gave us a day to think about who we are as a team. The next day we completely changed the way we played. Our new attitude is that everything you do is for the person next to you. This gives us a new drive to be successful, because everything that you do as a person affects the team as a whole, so we are all doing our jobs.”