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Growing Up In Gloucester City: Steve Ferry Tops; Lions Win Opener

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    GLOUCESTER CITY NJ (APRIL 8, 1982)--Steve Ferry supplied a 4-for-4 game, drove in four runs, and won the accolades of Coach Al Higginbotham after leading Gloucester High School to an opening 15-1 victory over host Penns Grove last Thursday. “Steve played exceptionally well,” said Higginbotham. “He had an outstanding game at the plate, was great fielding at first base, and did some fine baserunning. Screen Shot 2022-01-04 at 13.08.07

    “As a matter of fact, our entire team played well. We made no mistakes at all. We played such perfect baseball that it was scary. “At the plate, the kids hit ropes. We got 14 hits and could have had more.” While the bats were wearing out Penns Grove pitching, Buddy Blackiston was in total command of the Red Devil’s offense. He scattered three hits, struck out nine, and walked five.

    “Buddy was exceptional,” said Higginbotham. “He retired the side on eight pitches. He walked five, but they were spaced out. “I was a little concerned at first when their leadoff man lined a single to center field. I thought to myself ‘here we go again,’ but it didn’t work out that way. I think it’s the first time in two years that we were able to give Buddy a two-run lead. I know we didn’t get 14 hits until our fifth game last year. That was certainly encouraging.”

    The Lions took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Ferry and a run-scoring triple by Nick Conway. “Conway did a super job as our leadoff batter,” said Higginbotham. “He got three hits and did a good job of running the bases.”

    Penns Grove got its lone run in the bottom of the third inning after Gloucester had built its lead to 3-0 in the top half of the frame. The Lions hiked their lead to 4-1 with a run in the fifth inning and added five in the sixth and six in the seventh to turn the game into a rout. Frank Busch, Mark Ridge, and Ferry, Gloucester’s fifth, sixth and seventh batters, accounted for seven of the team’s 14 hits.

    “The kids were really enthused with the victory,” noted Higginbotham. “It wasn’t as much because we won, but I think they were surprised by the margin. It definitely was a big win for our young team.” The Lions were to have played Pennsville Saturday, but inclement weather moved the game to Monday. The locals visited Salem this past Tuesday.

    Higginbotham had planned to use southpaw John Lacavara against Pennsville and come back with Blackiston at Salem. The Lions would then be off until the following week.


Reprinted from the Gloucester City News April 8, 1982: