The Caesar Rodney Riders look to bounce back after their first loss of the season on Thursday afternoon when they travel north to take on the defending State Champs, St. Mark’s.

After winning their opener against Middletown, the Riders fell to Delmar last Wednesday by a 5-2 score. Delmar was able to get to Riders pitcher Aaron Briggs early, scoring 5 runs on only 5 hits in the first 2 innings of play.

Now, the Riders must prepare for a tough Spartans squad who haven’t started off the defense of their championship how they would have liked. St. Mark’s fell to rival St. Elizabeth 4-2 in their opener on Wednesday to fall to 0-1 for the season. After losing only 3 games total in their championship run, this is early uncharted territory for the Spartans and they’ll be looking to change things sooner rather than later.

If the Riders hope to be successful on Thursday, they’ll need their bats to show up. After posting 6 runs against Middletown in their opener, the Riders had only 2 runs on 5 hits – all singles – against Delmar. Against a very solid and deep St. Mark’s squad, 5 singles won’t get it done.

While it’s still very early, Gabe Rivera, Kendall Wicks and Briggs have all shown they can hit the ball. The Riders will need to see the rest of their lineup get into sync if the offense is to bounce back and avoid falling into an early season slump.

The Riders roster is still a young one, so it may take some time for everyone to get on the same page. CR has seen some early contributions from their returnees which will hopefully rub off on their underclassmen who are just now getting their shot.

And while you can’t win a championship in March, you can surely lose it by getting out to a bad start. A win against the defending State Champions, regular season or not, could go a long way in determining where this CR team will be headed as the season progresses.