FREDERICK, MD -The Frederick Keys are pleased to announce that Mark Blackmar has been named the recipient of the 2014 Steve Bechler Memorial Spirit Award. Beginning in 2003, this award is given annually to the Keys player who best represents the value, character and commitment of Joel Stephens in community service. Blackmar will be recognized before Saturday's game during an on-field ceremony.
In his first season as a member of the Keys, Blackmar, 22, been one of the leaders of the Keys pitching staff. On Friday night, he became the first Frederick pitcher to 10 wins, and is currently tied for second in the Carolina League in victories. The Texan also sports the league's fifth-best ERA, a mark which is also second-best among Orioles farmhands.
A star not only on the field, Blackmar has excelled off the field by taking an active role in the Frederick community. During the season, Blackmar made multiple library visits to read to children, participated in a local Celtic Festival, and served as an instructor at the Keys youth baseball camp.
The Bechler award remembers the late Orioles pitcher who died unexpectedly during a spring training workout in February 2003. Bechler spent parts of two seasons with the Keys from 2000-2001, and was very active with "Joel's Kids" which benefited children with serious illness or bereavement due to the death of a parent or loved one. Since 2010, Joel's Kids has become Frederick Keys Care, which provides annual aid to youth and young adults in Frederick County.
The Frederick Keys begin a four-game series with the Potomac Nationals on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Parker Bridwell (6-10, 4.51) makes the start for the Keys and will be countered by Nationals righty Brian Rauh (2-3, 4.37). First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard on 1450 AM The Source. It is Matt Wieters bobblehead night, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a bobblehead courtesy of BayRunner Shuttle. There will also be postgame fireworks presented by BayRunner Shuttle. Gates open at 5 p.m. For ticket information call 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.