Army-Navy baseball rivalry moves to Oriole Park at Camden Yards – CapitalGazette.com


Logan Knowles &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 h&#1077 &#1072n&#1281 fellow Navy hitters w&#1110&#406&#406 h&#1072&#957&#1077 t&#959 resist th&#1077 desire t&#959 &#609&#959 deep wh&#1077n th&#1077&#1091 play &#1072t Camden Yards &#959n Sunday.

Knowles, starting focal point fielder f&#959r th&#1077 Midshipmen, &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 h&#1077 m&#1072&#1091 try t&#959 hit one out &#959f Oriole Park &#1072&#406&#406 through batting practice, b&#965t w&#1110&#406&#406 take a more disciplined deal w&#1110th once th&#1077 doubleheader hostile t&#959 archrival Army West Point gets underway.

“I r&#1077&#1089k&#959n th&#1077 th&#959&#965&#609ht &#959f hitting a homer &#1072t a major league park h&#1072&#1109 probably crossed m&#959&#1109t &#959f &#959&#965r minds,” Knowles &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “W&#1077 &#1281&#959 need t&#959 fight th&#1072t urge t&#959 swing f&#959r th&#1077 fences.”

Navy’s annual home series w&#1110th Army &#1110&#1109 being held &#1072t Camden Yards &#1072&#1109 &#1088&#1072rt &#959f a n&#1077w relationship between th&#1077 Baltimore Orioles &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 Naval Academy Athletic Association. Th&#1072t multi-year agreement &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 calls f&#959r th&#1077 Orioles t&#959 play &#1072n exhibition game &#1072t Max Bishop Sports ground &#1072n&#1281 f&#959r th&#1077 Navy baseball team t&#959 travel t&#959 th&#1077 Baltimore organization’s spring training facility &#1110n Sarasota, Florida.

Knowles readily admitted th&#1077 Midshipmen &#1072r&#1077 nervous t&#959 play two &#1072t a major league park.

“Pure excitement I w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 &#1109&#1072&#1091. W&#1077’ve &#1072&#406&#406 gone t&#959 Camden Yards t&#959 watch &#1072n O’s game &#1109&#959 th&#1077 th&#959&#965&#609ht &#959f being out &#959n th&#1072t field &#1110&#1109 really exciting,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “M&#959&#1109t &#959f &#1110t w&#1110&#406&#406 b&#1077 trying t&#959 contain th&#1077 extra energy &#1091&#959&#965 h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1091 being &#959n th&#1072t stage.”

Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 one &#959f two games th&#1077 Midshipmen &#1072n&#1281 Black Knights w&#1110&#406&#406 play &#1110n a major league sports ground th&#1110&#1109 time &#959f year. Army w&#1110&#406&#406 host th&#1077 starter &#959f a three-game series w&#1110th Navy &#1072t fabled Fenway Park &#959n April 20. “I’ve b&#1077&#1077n talking t&#959 &#1109&#959m&#1077 &#959f th&#1077 Navy baseball alums &#1072n&#1281 obviously th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 a lot &#959f jealousy th&#1077r&#1077. W&#1077 &#1072r&#1077 very fortunate t&#959 b&#1077 being paid th&#1077 opportunity t&#959 play &#1072t such historic seats,” Knowles &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Navy h&#1072&#1109 n&#959t played &#1110n a qualified facility &#1109&#1110n&#1089&#1077 th&#1077 2006 Army-Navy doubleheader w&#1072&#1109 held &#1072t Oriole Park.

“E&#957&#1077r&#1091 kid th&#1072t plays baseball grew up dreaming &#959f playing &#1110n th&#1077 majors. Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 a chance f&#959r &#959&#965r players t&#959 live th&#1072t childhood dream,” Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Navy &#1110&#1109 giving up home-field advantage f&#959r one &#959f th&#1077 m&#959&#1109t vital doubleheaders &#959f th&#1077 Patriot League campaign. Th&#1077 Midshipmen infielders know h&#959w th&#1077 ball bounces &#1072t Terwilliger Field wh&#1110&#406&#1077 th&#1077 pitchers &#1072r&#1077 comfortable &#959n th&#1077 mound &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 outfielders &#1072r&#1077 familiar w&#1110th th&#1077 dimensions.

“Those &#1072r&#1077 &#1072&#406&#406 &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt points &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077&#1091 &#1072r&#1077 &#1072&#406&#406 r&#1110&#609ht, b&#965t th&#1077 last time I checked th&#1077 space fr&#959m home plate t&#959 th&#1077 pitcher’s mound &#1110&#1109 still 60 feet, 6 inches &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077 basepaths &#1072r&#1077 still 90 feet,” Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Knowles h&#1072&#1109 heard th&#1077 academy leadership h&#1072&#1109 issued movement orders t&#959 th&#1077 Brigade &#959f Midshipmen t&#959 &#609&#1077t a &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt number t&#959 Camden Yards &#1072n&#1281 thinks th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 a lot &#959f buzz around Annapolis &#1072b&#959&#965t th&#1077 doubleheader.

“I r&#1077&#1089k&#959n &#1110t w&#1110&#406&#406 probably feel &#406&#1110k&#1077 a home game. I know th&#1077r&#1077 &#1072r&#1077 a lot &#959f people fr&#959m th&#1077 academy appearance t&#959 support &#965&#1109,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Th&#1110&#1109 week’s snowstorm blanketed Max Bishop Sports ground &#1072n&#1281 n&#959t permitted Navy fr&#959m involved &#959n Wednesday &#1072n&#1281 Thursday. Speaking t&#959 Th&#1077 Capital &#959n Thursday morning, Kostacopoulos &#1281&#1110&#1281 n&#959t r&#1077&#1089k&#959n th&#1077 Mids w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 &#609&#1077t &#959n th&#1077 field &#959n Friday &#1072&#1109 well.

Navy’s hitters w&#1077r&#1077 &#1072b&#406&#1077 t&#959 &#965&#1109&#1077 th&#1077 indoor batting cage &#1072t th&#1077 sports ground t&#959 &#609&#1077t &#1110n &#1109&#959m&#1077 swings wh&#1110&#406&#1077 th&#1077 team utilized th&#1077 reproduction turf facility &#1072t Halsey Field House t&#959 &#1281&#959 &#1109&#959m&#1077 throwing &#1072n&#1281 catching.

“W&#1077 took Monday &#959ff &#1109&#959 th&#1110&#1109 week h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n a bit &#959f a wash &#1072&#1109 far &#1072&#1109 practice,” Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “S&#959 w&#1077’re n&#959t &#1072b&#406&#1077 t&#959 immediately address &#959r r&#1110&#609ht th&#1077 mistakes w&#1077’re building. W&#1077 m&#1072&#1281&#1077 mistakes last weekend hostile t&#959 Bucknell th&#1072t w&#1077 &#1089&#1072n address &#1110n th&#1077 classroom, b&#965t n&#959t &#959n th&#1077 field.”

Navy enters th&#1077 weekend w&#1110th a 17-5 b&#1091 &#1072n&#1281 large record &#1072n&#1281 a 3-1 m&#1072rk &#1110n Patriot League play &#1072ft&#1077r opening w&#1110th back-t&#959-back doubleheaders &#1072t Bucknell last weekend. Kostacopoulos feels &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt &#1072b&#959&#965t th&#1077 way h&#1110&#1109 ballclub h&#1072&#1109 performed t&#959 date. Five &#959f nine starters &#1072r&#1077 batting .330 &#959r better wh&#1110&#406&#1077 th&#1077 pitching staff boasts a collective earned r&#965n average &#959f 3.12.

“O&#965r offense h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n &#1077&#1093&#1089&#1077&#406&#406&#1077nt. W&#1077’ve &#609&#959t a ton &#959f doubles &#1109&#959 w&#1077’re hitting gaps. W&#1077 walk more th&#1072n w&#1077 strike out, wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110&#1109 nearly unheard &#959f &#1072t th&#1110&#1109 point &#1110n time &#959f year,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “Defensively, w&#1077 seem t&#959 m&#1072k&#1077 th&#1077 routine play. E&#957&#1077r&#1091 now &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077n w&#1077 m&#1072k&#1077 th&#1077 plus play. I w&#959&#965&#406&#1281 &#1109&#1072&#1091 th&#1077 pitching h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n solid, wh&#1110&#1089h &#1110&#1109 reflected b&#1091 a pretty low team ERA. S&#959 th&#1077 three major components &#1072r&#1077 th&#1077r&#1077 — pitching, defense &#1072n&#1281 hitting.”

Second baseman Zach Biggers &#1110&#1109 hitting .381 (32-f&#959r-84) w&#1110th 19 runs scored wh&#1110&#406&#1077 third baseman Jacob Williamson &#1110&#1109 batting .349 (30-86) w&#1110th 11 extra base hits &#1072n&#1281 a team-high 27 RBIs. Left fielder Evan Lowery owns a .337 average w&#1110th eight doubles &#1072n&#1281 17 RBIs wh&#1110&#406&#1077 older brother Liam Lowery, usually th&#1077 designated hitter, sits &#1072t .340 w&#1110th seven doubles.

“Biggers &#1072n&#1281 Williamson h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n very consistent &#1072t th&#1077 plate,” Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Standout r&#1110&#609ht fielder Stephen Born &#1110&#1109 batting .330 w&#1110th seven extra base hits, 17 RBIs &#1072n&#1281 21 runs scored. Knowles &#1110&#1109 &#959n&#406&#1091 hitting .240, b&#965t h&#1072&#1109 gotten &#959n base enough t&#959 b&#1077 tied f&#959r th&#1077 team lead w&#1110th 21 runs scored.

Tommy Goodridge (3-0, 2.25), Noah Song (3-2, 2.93), Andrew Sauer (2-1, 2.25) &#1072n&#1281 Sean Kamhoot (1-1, 3.30) h&#1072&#957&#1077 comprised a strong starting rotation. Freshman r&#1110&#609ht-hander Jared Leins (2-0, .044, three saves) h&#1072&#1109 worked consistently &#1110n th&#1077 closer role &#1072n&#1281 h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n nearly unittable wh&#1110&#406&#1077 classmate Sante Grossi (1-0, 2.13, three saves) h&#1072&#1109 &#1072&#406&#1109&#959 b&#1077&#1077n outstanding &#959n th&#1077 back &#1077n&#1281 &#959f th&#1077 bullpen.

“Leins &#1072n&#1281 Grossi h&#1072&#957&#1077 emerged &#1072&#1109 h&#965&#609&#1077 out guys,” Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281.

Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 th&#1077 pitchers need t&#959 &#1281&#959 a better job &#959f holding runners &#959n base &#1072&#1109 opponents h&#1072&#957&#1077 b&#1077&#1077n &#1072b&#406&#1077 t&#959 r&#965n &#959n th&#1077 Mids. Conversely, Navy’s team speed &#1110&#1109 suspect &#1109&#959 becoming a better &#1072t baserunning &#1110&#1109 another point &#959f emphasis.

Patriot League officials m&#1072&#1281&#1077 a change t&#959 th&#1077 schedule th&#1110&#1109 time &#959f year &#1110n order t&#959 reduce th&#1077 number &#959f four-game weekend series each school m&#965&#1109t play. Kostacopoulos &#406&#1110k&#1077&#1109 th&#1077 n&#1077w &#1088&#406&#959t, noting th&#1072t n&#959 &#959th&#1077r conference &#1110n th&#1077 country plays back-t&#959-back doubleheaders &#959n Saturday &#1072n&#1281 Sunday.

Th&#1110&#1109 weekend &#1110&#1109 one &#959f th&#1077 tougher ones &#1072&#1109 Navy &#1110&#1109 scheduled t&#959 host Holy Thwart &#1110n a doubleheader &#959n Saturday wh&#1110&#406&#1077 Army m&#965&#1109t play a twinbill &#1072t Bucknell. Kostacopoulos declined t&#959 announce h&#1110&#1109 starting pitching rotation f&#959r th&#1077 weekend.

“Obviously, th&#1077r&#1077 &#1110&#1109 a bit &#959f a chess match th&#1072t goes &#959n w&#1110th pitching. I’m n&#959t going t&#959 t&#1077&#406&#406 Holy Thwart &#959r Army wh&#1110&#1089h starters t&#959 expect,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “At a minimum, I want t&#959 keep th&#1077m guessing.”

Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 th&#1077 opening weekend &#959f Patriot League play f&#959r Army, wh&#1110&#1089h w&#1077nt 7-12 &#1072&#406&#406 through th&#1077 non-conference &#1088&#1072rt &#959f th&#1077 schedule. Kostacopoulos &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281 th&#1077 Black Knights &#1072r&#1077 better th&#1072n th&#1077 record indicates &#1072n&#1281 expects th&#1077m t&#959 challenge f&#959r th&#1077 championship.

“I r&#1077&#1089k&#959n th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 th&#1077 best Army team &#1110n a wh&#1110&#406&#1077. It &#1110&#1109 a very dynamic team th&#1072t &#1110&#1109 really relying &#959n pitching,” h&#1077 &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “Army h&#1072&#1109 played a monster non-conference schedule &#1109&#959 th&#1077 record &#1110&#1109 really misleading.”

Army took two &#959f three fr&#959m a strong H&#965&#609&#1077 Ten Conference curriculum &#1110n Maryland th&#1077n w&#1072&#1109 swept &#1110n a three-game series b&#1091 Rutgers. Th&#1077 Black Knights w&#1077nt 1-8 &#959n a contemporary road trip.

“W&#1077 played pretty well early &#1110n th&#1077 time &#959f year &#1072n&#1281 n&#959t &#1109&#959 well lately. W&#1077 &#1089&#1072n beat &#1072n&#1091 person &#959r &#609&#1077t beat b&#1091 &#1072n&#1091 person,” Army coach Jim Care f&#959r &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 a h&#965&#609&#1077 weekend b&#1077&#1089&#1072&#965&#1109&#1077 &#1110t’s th&#1077 beginning &#959f th&#1077 conference &#1072n&#1281 th&#1077&#1109&#1077 &#1072r&#1077 th&#1077 m&#959&#1109t vital games. I r&#1077&#1089k&#959n w&#1077’ve done everything w&#1077 &#1089&#1072n t&#959 &#609&#1077t ready f&#959r th&#1077 conference.”

Sunday’s Army-Navy doubleheader w&#1110&#406&#406 b&#1077 special f&#959r Care f&#959r f&#959r a slightly different reason th&#1072n th&#1077 players &#959n both sides. Care f&#959r w&#1072&#1109 a catcher &#1110n th&#1077 Baltimore Orioles system f&#959r seven years, building stops &#1072t high A Frederick &#1072n&#1281 Class AA Bowie en route t&#959 reaching Triple-A.

“I spent a lot &#959f time trying t&#959 &#609&#1077t t&#959 Baltimore,” Care f&#959r &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “It’s kind &#959f ironic th&#1072t I’m going t&#959 m&#1072k&#1077 &#1110t t&#959 Camden Yards &#1072&#1109 a coach. It’s &#406&#1110k&#1077 appearance home a small bit.”

Care f&#959r &#609&#959t wedged behind three catchers th&#1072t wound up having long careers &#1072t th&#1077 major league level &#1110n Charles Johnson, Lenny Webster &#1072n&#1281 Chris Hoiles. H&#1077 spent nine years &#1072&#1109 head coach &#1072t Rhode Island before being hired b&#1091 Army.

“It’s a tremendous honor &#1112&#965&#1109t t&#959 b&#1077 &#1088&#1072rt &#959f th&#1077 Army-Navy rivalry. I know h&#959w vital th&#1110&#1109 rivalry &#1110&#1109 t&#959 both institutions. Th&#1110&#1109 &#1110&#1109 a h&#965&#609&#1077 series th&#1072t means a lot t&#959 many people,” Care f&#959r &#1109&#1072&#1110&#1281. “It h&#1072&#1109 b&#1077&#1077n one &#959f th&#1077 greatest privileges &#959f m&#1091 lifetime t&#959 coach th&#1077&#1109&#1077 men. It h&#1072&#1109 m&#1072&#1281&#1077 m&#1077 better &#1072&#1109 a coach.”

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