Waldorf, Md. – Since their inception in 2008, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs have epitomized success as a franchise. That’s why 2018 was an unfamiliar feeling for Southern Maryland fans as the Blue Crabs struggled for most of the season. If the 9-1 blowout win over the defending ALPB Champion Sugar Land Skeeters in the 2019 season opener is any indication for what is to come, the Blue Crabs are back to their winning ways.
Two bright spots in a down 2018 season for Southern Maryland were Angelys Nina and Frank Martinez who both finished top ten in the league in batting average. The duo returned in Blue Crabs uniforms in 2019 and didn’t skip a beat. Nina came through in the first at-bat of the 2019 Atlantic League season with a base hit and was later driven in by a Martinez double to give the Blue Crabs an early 1-0 lead.
It comes as no surprise to Blue Crabs fans that their hometown hero Daryl Thompson graced the pitchers’ mound for his third Blue Crabs opening day start of his career. Daryl was his usual self, shutting down the potent Skeeters while watching his offense pick him up.
After a scoreless second, the Blue Crabs put the pedal to the medal in the fourth with back-to-back home runs by Tony Thomas and Cory Vaughn, kickstarting the offensive attack. Rubi Silva kept it going with an RBI triple, and Martinez followed with yet another RBI. The Blue Crabs four-run outburst in the fourth put them ahead 6-0 and spelled the end of the road for Skeeters’ starter Mitch Talbot who was charged with all six runs.
Thompson, however kept it going, as in his eighth season in Southern Maryland he showed no sign of decline in route to shutting out the defending champs through six innings of work, allowing just three hits.
In the only game that took place on the 2019 ALPB Opening Day, the implications of the MLB-ALPB partnership rule changes were bound to be seen. Before Thompson’s departure, Skeeters’ first baseman James Loney grounded out, yet was allowed to stay on base. The umpiring crew deemed Blue Crabs’ second baseman Nina to be in a position that is illegal per the ban of defensive shifts as part of the rule changes, which results in granting the batter first base.
The Blue Crabs’ further cushioned Thompson’s lead in the seventh when Charlie Valerio blasted a three-run shot over the right field fence putting the Blue Crabs ahead 9-0. This gave way to the end of the day for Thompson, who was relieved by Blue Crabs newcomer Miguel Nunez. Miguel tossed a scoreless seventh before handing the ball off to Southern Maryland southpaw Adam Choplick for the eighth.
After Choplick got through a scoreless frame, in Stan Cliburn’s Blue Crabs managerial return he called upon right-handed reliever Andrew Johnston to shut the door on the Skeeters. Johnston allowed the Skeeters’ lone run of the ballgame on a solo-shot off the bat Juan Silverio, but that was all the Skeeters could muster, as Johnston got the job done and put the first W in the win column for the Blue Crabs 2019 season, with an emphatic 9-1 victory.
The Blue Crabs’ home opener is May 3rd against the Lancaster Barnstormers. To save your seat at the ballpark for the upcoming season and other team news, visit www.somdbluecrabs.com or call 301-638-9788.
About the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
The Blue Crabs play 140 regular season games in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The Blue Crabs call Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland home. The 12th franchise season will begin April 2019. For more information on the SOMD Blue Crabs, please call 301-638-9788 or visit http://www.somdbluecrabs.com for more information.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 900 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 40 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.