The Frederick Flying Dogs are preparing to open a new season in a new league as they join the Blue Ridge League. The Flying Dogs will be joining a strong league that includes the Brunswick Orioles, Brunswick Express, Boonsboro Pirates, and Martinsburg Blue Sox. The Flying Dogs have had some tough games with these four teams in the past during NABF Regional Play or during the Reno Powell Memorial Day tournament. The Maryland Renegades are also in the Blue Ridge League and June 2nd will mark the first ever meeting between these two teams.
The Flying Dogs will play a 20 game schedule in the Blue Ridge League. Before the season kicks off, the Flying Dogs will play in the Reno Powell Memorial Day Tournament in Hagerstown. Additionally, there will be the annual game with the FSK Post 11 Legion. This year it will take place May 25th at Harry Grove Stadium. FSK Post 11 is a loaded squad this year and it should be a good test as the Dogs prepare for the loaded schedule this year.
On Thursday, the Flying Dogs overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Walkersville Patriots 8-3 in their home opener at Tuscarora High School. With the win, the Flying Dogs improved their record to 4-0 on the season.
Walkersville jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a single, double and a groundout off of starter Jason Christianberry. Trailing for the first time all year, the Flying Dogs preceded to bat around in the bottom of the 1st, scoring five runs on four hits. The Flying Dogs added two more in the bottom of the 2nd inning, both runs scoring on Matt Buchholz first home run of the year and adding one more in the 6th on a passed ball. Christianberry went five innings to gain his second victory of the year, allowing only three hits over his five innings of work. Tim Martin came in and pitched the last two innings allowing only one run on two hits, striking out two.
Matt Buchholz had two hits and 2 RBI while Brandon Roebuck also added two doubles and 2 RBIs as well. Chris Godfrey and Steve Shriner each had two hits with Shriner adding an RBI, while Mick Myers also had a hit. Steve Canale had a RBI as well.
The Flying Dogs now prepare for a tough stretch of games as they travel to Century High School for a doubleheader on Sunday against the Winfield Nightmare followed by games next week on Wednesday and Thursday against the FSK Post 11 American Legion and the Nightmare again prior to the Reno Powell Memorial Day Tournament next weekend.
Prior to the season, two important members of the Frederick Flying Dogs decided to call it quits.
Shortly after the end of last season, Rich Ropp notified the Dogs that he would be hanging up his cleats. As a member of the Westminster Falcons, Richie won many crucial games as the Falcons won multiple MMSPBL championships with Ropp on the team. Ropp joined the Flying Dogs and continued his dominance, helping the Flying Dogs capture multiple MMSPBL championships as well. Ropp finished the 2014 season in only a style that he could, winning Games 2 and 3 of the MMSPBL Finals on the same day to help the Flying Dogs capture the 2014 MMSPBL Championship. Ropp also pitched the Flying Dogs to a victory over the Boonsboro Pirates in the NABF Regional last year. His best moment as a member of the Flying Dogs had to be in 2011 when he pitched back to back games in the NABF Semifinals and Finals, winning the Semifinal game before being the hard luck loser in the NABF Regional Championship game. It was a pleasure having Richie as a teammate and it was much more fun playing with him than against him.
A couple of weeks ago, Nick Collingham also informed the Flying Dogs that he was also going to call it a career. Nick Collingham was the founder of the team as well as the long time manager of the club. Nick built the team from the ground up and by 2004 he and the Frederick Cardinals were a challenger to the MMSPBL crown. In 2008, Collingham led the Flying Dogs to the first of their six MMSPBL Championships. Collingham managed the Flying Dogs to 7 NABF Regional Appearances, reaching the Championship Game in 2011. Collingham was also named the 2010 Maryland Semi-Pro Manager of the Year. Collingham retires after having a tremendous year at the plate in 2014 as he had 22 RBIs and hit a clutch home run to help defeat the Titans Baseball Club during the regular season. Collingham also had many other clutch hits throughout the year and throughout his career. Besides running the Flying Dogs, Nick also ran the MMSPBL for many years as well and he did a lot to help get the Flying Dogs to where they are today. Without Nick’s dedication, who knows what would’ve become of the Dogs. He may be retired, but this will always be his team and we appreciate everything he has done.
Thanks for everything Richie and Nick. Don’t think we won’t try to talk you both out of retirement!
The Flying Dogs held their last practice of the preseason on Sunday and after months of indoor and a few outdoor practices, the Flying Dogs are ready to go. Heading into 2015, the Flying Dogs return a solid nucleus along with the addition of some new faces that will round out a solid squad that will be looking to repeat as Champions of the MMSPBL. The Flying Dogs will also be participating in the Reno Powell Memorial Tournament in Hagerstown, MD on Memorial Day Weekend.
The MMSPBL had some changes over the offseason as the Carroll Spartans and the Titans Baseball Club did not return this year. While those two teams dropped out, the Mason Dixon Rebels join the league for the 2015 season to round out an 8 team league.
The Dogs get to open their season on the road as they travel up to Hampstead Municipal Park to take on the Mason Dixon Rebels in a doubleheader. First pitch will be at 1 PM on Sunday March 3rd.