Oak Hall Baseball Falls Short in High-Scoring Season Debut

In their first game of the 2022 season, the Oak Hall Eagles took a 12-7 loss against the Branford Buccaneers. Junior Jack Kuzmicki led the charge for the Eagles with three hits (including two doubles). Sophomore Jackson Beach and junior Neil Ruth also chipped in with two hits each.

Finding Their Footing in the New Season

With Tuesday night being the Eagles’ first game of the year, the team looked a little rusty in certain moments. The Buccaneers immediately started the game with a 4-run outing in the first inning. They went on to hold the lead for the rest of the game as the Eagles were unable to slow their momentum.

One of the main causes of Branford’s offensive eruption was miscues from Oak Hall’s defense. The Eagles picked up 5 errors throughout the game while throwing four wild pitches. Kuzmicki acknowledged that the team’s nerves may have gotten the best of them on Thursday, but they are staying calm and focused on moving forward.

“First game, we all had the jitters, all trying to be too quick,” Kuzmicki said. “We just need to relax. We’re good players. We just do what we do, but we’ll definitely get the instruction we need to bounce back and have a good season.”

Eagles Head Coach Kevin Maris echoed this sentiment in his post-game remarks as well.

“[We have] guys playing in positions that they are not used to playing in… some of [the players] are coming off of basketball. Things like that are going to happen early in the season,” Coach Maris said.

The Eagles line up for their pre-game introductions.

Three of Oak Hall’s starters in tonight’s game also played for the school’s basketball team; their season concluded less than two weeks ago. Additionally, two of Oak Hall’s pitchers in tonight’s game are not primarily listed as pitchers. According to MaxPreps, Emory Ezzell primarily plays right field and second base, while Kuzmicki primarily plays catcher and third base. Despite this, both players took the mound as relievers in the later innings of the game.

Promising Showing on Offense

While the Eagles endured some struggles on defense, they managed to keep up with the Buccaneers through most of the game thanks to their offense. Beach and Kuzmicki each had impressive offensive showings on Tuesday night. Beach kicked off the game with a double at the top of the first inning. After Beach stole third off a wild pitch, Kuzmicki brought him home with a powering RBI single.

Their respective first innings set the tone for their performances. Kuzmicki finished the game with four RBIs, while Beach scored three runs. Following his strong batting performance, Kuzmicki shared his batting philosophy: he clears his mind and focuses on getting the job done.

“When I get in the box, I don’t really think anything,” Kuzmicki said.  I like to say over and over again, ‘Quality at-bat, quality at-bat, be a hitter, be a hitter,’ and I think that really helps me stay focused on the task at hand.”

Preparing For Their Home Debut

Despite losing their season opener, the Eagles displayed signs of promise and potential to grow on Tuesday night. They will host the Bronson Eagles next Monday at 4:15 PM in their home opener. Until then, the team will get back to work on fine-tuning their game.

“We’re just going to keep getting a lot of reps in and work hard in practice,” Beach said. “We know we can do better than that.”

About Jack Meyer

Jack Meyer is a third-year student at the University of Florida. He is majoring in Journalism and specializing in Sports and Media.

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