Summit baseball dominates Aspen in final regular season game, captures wild card playoff berth
Team notches 12th consecutive victory with 16-2 mercy-rule win
Since its doubleheader loss to Palisade in April, the Summit baseball team has been on a mission. The team has racked up 11 straight wins, 10 of which have been played on the road, making a strong push to the playoffs with the regular season coming to a close.
The Tigers looked for its 12th consecutive win against the Aspen Skiers on Tuesday, May 17, for Summit High School’s senior day game.
Senior captain Jack Taylor started on the mound for the Tigers.
Aspen got off to a quick start in the first inning, with a hit making its way past Taylor. After a quick out, the Skiers sent a bouncing ball to right field bringing in one runner to put the Skiers up, 1-0 early.
Aspen had some trouble defensively in the bottom of the first, with pitcher Alex Schlosser walking the first few Tigers batters and Brecken Perlow stealing two bases to advance to third base.
Summit evened the score to 1-1 when Schlosser was penalized for a balk and Perlow was allowed to advance to home base.
After the Perlow score, Summit junior Cassius Bradford launched a hit 10 feet beyond the fence for a home run, bringing in Will Koll and giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
The Skiers searched for an out, but the Tigers continued to score in the opening inning with an RBI hit by senior KJ Slaugh for a fourth Summit run.
Aspen brought in Caleb Seward as the new pitcher, who eventually was able to close out the inning, but Summit was still able to produce runs.
The Tigers led the Skiers 7-1 at the end of the first inning.
The Skiers came to the plate aggressive in the top of the second inning, attempting to take a bite out of the Tigers lead.
Taylor struck out Seward for the first out but then allowed several runners on base. Summit was able to exit the second inning only allowing one run, and Taylor struck out a batter for the final out.
Entering the third inning trailing 7-2 the Skiers attempted to get some momentum going, but Taylor and the Summit defense prevented Aspen from scoring.
Summit started the bottom of the third by putting two runners on base before the first out.
With two runners on, Bradford returned to the plate where he rocketed another hit, this time to the fence, where a Skiers outfielder chased it down and threw it to the infield. The RBI hit brought the score to 8-2.
Zach Willms come to the plate after Bradford and connected with a pitch for a line-drive single, which brought in two more Summit runners. The Tigers ended the inning leading up 10-2.
Taylor continued to pitch well in the fourth inning, striking out the first two Aspen batters. The third batter connected on a pitch for a line-drive ground ball, but the Summit infield turned it to first base for the final out of the inning.
“Jack Taylor he threw great, six strikeouts and was able to keep the damage to a minimum,“ head coach Patrick Stehler said.
Taylor did his job in the batters box as well, bringing in a run off a solid hit to the shallow part of the outfield.
The Skiers’ third pitcher of the game struggled in the fourth, throwing several balls and walking a couple of Summit batters. The Tigers loaded the bases several times throughout the inning and went on a large scoring spree — scoring six runs in the bottom of the fourth with Bradford recording his third hit with a two-RBI double.
After an additional pitching change, the Skiers escaped the inning trailing 16-2 and in need of four runs to avoid the game being cut short due to the mercy rule.
The Summit defense put in a strong effort in the top of the fifth, not allowing Aspen to score a single run and ending the game after five innings of play.
The 16-2 mercy-rule win was the team’s 12th consecutive victory and advanced the Tigers to a 16-6 overall record for the season.
“It all began after our games against Palisade where we redefined our goals for our season and the team concluded with the goal to win out, and sure enough the boys pulled off 12 straight wins to finish off the season and I could not be more proud of them,” Stehler said.
The win over Aspen also gives Summit the best regular season record the program has seen in the last 20 years.
Following the game, the team honored its five seniors including Taylor, Slaugh, Jax Boyd, Tommy Bertram and Charlie Pedigo.
“The seniors have meant a ton,” Stehler said. “These guys as freshman grasped on to the team culture and took it all the way through their senior year and it’s starting to show success,”
With 16 wins on the season, Summit earned a wild card spot in the 2022 4A state playoffs where the team is seeded 11th in the 32-team regional competition.
Summit will face No. 22 Erie High School in region six of eight. The top team from each region will advance to a final eight team bracket where a 4A state baseball champion will be crowned.
Summit’s game against Erie will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, at Riverdale Ridge High School. The school is located at 13380 Yosemite St. in Thornton.
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