They lost all 20 of their games last spring, 18 by double-figure margins. Short of boys to fill out the roster, the Matthew C. Perry High School baseball team even fielded some girl players from the school’s disbanded softball squad.
But last weekend, Matthew C. Perry’s baseball team broke through in grand style.
Neil Suther and Trandon Cole combined to strike out 15 batters as the Samurai amassed 20 hits and 15 walks to beat E.J. King 25-4 in their season-opening game Friday at Sasebo Naval Base.
“After a no-win season last year, the team was awfully glad to get a win,” said coach Brett Curtis, whose Samurai followed that victory with a 15-9 win on Saturday over a junior varsity squad from Canadian Academy of Kobe.
The past few springs, Matthew C. Perry, with an enrollment of just 138, has had trouble finding enough players for its baseball program.
To bolster its roster, the Samurai welcomed five girls from the school’s softball program, which was shelved in the spring of 2004. The Samurai’s co-ed baseball squad managed to play just two games in which the final margin was single digits, 3-2 and 14-11, both losses to Japanese teams late in the season.
School officials announced last spring that Perry’s football program, which had dwindled to about 15 players, would disband due to safety concerns, and that the baseball program would move to the fall. E.J. King, with an enrollment of 153, made the same move starting in the fall of 2004.
“So far, it has worked out,” said Curtis, adding that not having to compete with football or soccer for players is a relief for Samurai baseball.
A handful of new players moved in during the summer. They, with some freshmen, “have made a contribution to the team,” Curtis said.
In Friday’s victory over the Cobras, Suther went the first five innings, recording 10 strikeouts. Cole finished, striking out five more.
On Saturday against the Falcons JV, Suther set the tone with a three-run first-inning home run and left fielder Nathan Urbany made two rally-ending catches in the fourth inning. Michael Duncan pitched the first four innings, striking out three, and Michael Mensorado retired the last five batters, also striking out three.
The Samurai next play host to E.J. King and Canadian Academy’s varsity teams on Friday and Saturday. Game times are scheduled for 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday.