AP     The Ed Sox dropped their 2004 season opener, a 15 to 5 nail-biter to Team Airborne at Newton's Albemarle Field.

Fine pitching efforts from first-time hurlers Paul Luevano and Hannah Sarnow, along with flashes of defensive brillance from newly acquired infielder Dan Stachurski and outfielder Tom Atwood, made it a close contest.

"This game was much closer than the score indicated," said Ed Sox player-manager-owner Ed Mason. "I really thought, right up to the last out, we had them."

With the Ed Sox missing pitchers Donna Barry, Michael Keefe and Arnold Salvati, Mason was forced to press Luevano and Sarnow into service. Both pitched spectacularly in their debuts and can expect to be called upon again as the Ed Sox continue their quest for their first Fall Frostbite League title.

The Ed Sox fell behind by five in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the first, the Ed Sox answered with two quick runs scored on a single by Stachurski, a double by leftfielder Tim Farrell, and a single by Atwood.

The Ed Sox scored again in the third, when they were awarded two runs because Airborne was short a woman. The Ed Sox final run came when Mason singled and took second on an error. He was advanced to third by a single by infielder Teresa Wu and scored on a fielder's choice by rover Deirdre.

Other offensive highlights included two hits apiece by Stachurski, Farrell, and slugging shortstop Ted Young.

The game featured spectacular defensive plays. Mary Ellen Mullaney made a circus catch in shortfield. Stachurski made two outs in the fifth, including a shoe-top grab of a line drive. Atwood, one of the Ed Sox' new additions, made several key putouts in centerfield. Tammy Atwood made a nice catch in centerfield, in addition to reaching base in the fourth. Deirdre excelled at thirdbase and shortfield.

The loss puts the Ed Sox at 0 and 1. Team Airborne moves to 1 and 1.

The Ed Sox have their home opener on Sunday at Tufts Park in Medford. The game starts at 1.30. Directions to Tufts Park can be found at www.bssc.com.