This was not the way Teddy Stankiewicz envisioned his Opening Day start Friday night at Hadlock Field, eight days and a good 40 degrees removed from his final spring-training outing.

His first pitch came rocketing back over his head for a no-doubt single to center. The next batter grounded a single to right. Stankiewicz plunked Reading’s No. 3 hitter to load the bases with nobody out.

He stepped off the mound. Behind the home dugout, in the first row of the second section, sat his grandfather, Miroslaw, and his father, T.J. They had come all the way from Texas.

“This is on our bucket list,” said Miroslaw, who goes by Mike and had never seen his grandson pitch professionally.

Stankiewicz ignored them both and peered in for the sign from catcher Jordan Procyshen. Reading cleanup hitter Kyle Martin launched a deep fly to center but Joseph Monge was able to run it down for a sacrifice fly and the game’s first out.

Stankiewicz induced a grounder from the next batter, with second baseman Jose Rosario fielding a short hop and making a quick flip to shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin to begin a rally-killing double play.

“The defense was fantastic,” Stankiewicz said. “They made it look super easy.”

And for the next four innings, so did Stankiewicz. He retired 11 of 12 to breeze through five innings on only 53 pitches. He struggled a bit in the sixth, issuing his only two walks, and left with the score tied in a game the Sea Dogs won 4-2 thanks to a two-run homer by Aneury Tavarez in the seventh.

“Teddy, he filled the strike zone for us,” said Procyshen, who had two hits in his Double-A debut and threw out the only runner who attempted to steal on him. “He was just pounding the zone and pitching to contact. On a night like this, when it’s cold, that’s what you want.”

The game started in 51-degree weather and by the end dropped into the middle 40s. A few sprinkles fell in the fifth inning. Stankiewicz blocked it all out. He never even glanced at his dad and granddad while returning to the dugout.

“Oh, no, I’m locked in,” he said. “I’m absolutely locked in. I have, like, tunnel vision.”

Pitching coach Kevin Walker said his starter’s ability to forget about base-runners and relatives and anything other than his next pitch is what allowed Stankiewicz to keep Reading out of a big inning. Even though his sixth and final inning included two walks, a single and a wild pitch, Stankiewicz yielded just one run and choked off the threat with a strikeout to strand a runner at third.

“In spring training we work them up to five innings, so this was his first time being out six innings, with an eight-day layoff since the last time he’s thrown,” Walker said. “That probably has something to do with that. I was really proud of him in that (sixth) inning. With everything that happened, he was able to minimize the damage to just one run.”

A second-round draft pick out of high school by the Mets in 2012, Stankiewicz instead went to a junior college in Florida for a year and in 2013 signed with the Red Sox, who also drafted him in the second round. He spent last season with the Sea Dogs, going 5-9 with a 4.71 ERA and tossing a memorable 96-pitch one-hitter in early August.

“Teddy’s always been a guy who’s got really good command,” Walker said. “He was effective (Friday) because he mixed his pitches well. He threw a fastball, a curveball and a slider, and he was never predictable. He kept hitters off balance. He pitched inside.”

Two earned runs and four hits in six innings of work. A proud father and a proud grandpa.

“He threw outstanding for us tonight,” Procyshen said. “We couldn’t have asked for much more.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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