College baseball comes to Summit County
Special to the Daily
This summer, college baseball is coming to Summit County.
No, CMC isn’t fielding a team; it’s the Summit County Extreme Black Diamonds — one of six teams in the newly founded Mountain West College Baseball League. Summit will play against teams from Vail, Eagle Valley, Steamboat, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction in the wood-bat league. Summit’s team features college players from all across the country, as well as a few Summit High grads.
On Tuesday, the Black Diamonds opened their season in Eagle County, facing off against the Vail Vipers. In the first game of the doubleheader, Summit got on the board first with an RBI single from Christian Cathey. The Vipers struck back in the 4th with two runs of their own. There would have been more if not for a great throw home from Logan Bima. In the 6th, the Black Diamonds exploded with five runs which was enough to propel them to an eventual 7-4 win. Starting pitcher Steven Coelho had a fantastic outing, allowing only two runs over six innings.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Summit wasn’t so fortunate. Early pitching struggles from Andrew Kramer put Summit in a 7-2 hole after only two innings. A valiant comeback, highlighted by Matt Beasley’s two-run homer, pulled the Diamonds back within one, down 7-6 in the 3rd. Unfortunately Summit could get no closer than that, and after exchanging runs for the last few innings, lost 10-9 to the Vipers.
On Thursday, the Black Diamonds tried adding a couple wins to its resume in its home opening doubleheader against the 0-2 Rocky Mountain Oysters of Grand Junction. In game one, Logan Bima and Chad Pigg got the team started with two big home runs. Arlington Baptist’s Tyler Brown also added to the score with a two-run RBI single.
Unfortunately for the Black Diamonds, defense was once again their downfall. Illinois Valley pitcher Buddy Ahlstrom allowed two earned runs and four runs total over three innings in pitching before being relieved by Summit High grad Mitchell Gray. Gray did a little better, allowing only one hit, but that one hit was a solo home run.
The Diamonds still held onto a 6-5 lead going to the final 7th inning but that was when the Oysters’ bats came alive.
A string of hits gave the Oysters a 7-6 lead going into the bottom of the 7th. Summit was not able to mount a comeback of their own and lost the tough opening game.
Game two started as a pitcher’s duel early on. Summit’s Zeb Pierson showcased great velocity, scattering only a handful of hits over the first few innings. Zeb’s breaking ball started hanging too much in the 5th, however, and a 3-run shot past left field gave the Oysters a 6-0 lead.
The Black Diamonds added two in the 6th, which was followed by an Oysters score in their final frame that gave Summit a daunting 7-2 hole entering their last at-bat.
The Black Diamonds quickly loaded the bases, which set the stage for one of their best hitters who was up next.
Matt Beasley, a 6-1, 190 pound infielder from Ranger Junior College, had already had a solid offensive start to the season, with hits in every game, and one home run. Beasley jumped on his second pitch; slamming a ball to deep left.
“I knew it was gone as soon as I hit it,” Beasley said.
Beasley’s incredible clutch grand slam brought the Diamonds back within breathing distance; down 7-6.
“Beasley’s grand slam was huge, he got a pitch up in the zone and he made him pay for it, it kept the inning going. … He gets out there, now you have two outs and it’s tough,” said Diamonds head coach Nick Eversole.
“No games over until it’s over, there’s a 7th inning for a reason,” said Beasley.
A string of walks and a single loaded the bases for Summit with only one out. Utility player Christian Cathey stepped to the plate next; focused and confident for the challenge that lay ahead.
“I just wanted to get something in the air. You want to be relaxed in those situations,” said Cathey.
After a number of foul balls, Cathey was able to make contact into fair territory, plopping the ball into a grassy pasture in between the Oyster’s shortstop and left-fielder.
Cathey’s single drove in two runs which was enough to finish off Summit’s miraculous comeback victory.
“We just kept knocking and itching and we never gave up. This team really comes together and we don’t have any negative emotions coming around. We just have to work on not getting down in that kind of a hole,” explained Cathey.
In many ways the two teams traded the underdog role between the first and second games.
“That first loss was a tough one, but it shows you what our guys are made of — coming back in game two, not giving up. Our guys showed a lot of toughness today and that was great to see,” Eversole said.
“We came out in the second game with a little more fire, we got down early but it’s alright because we battled back and got the win,” said Beasley.
With the win the Summit Extreme Black Diamonds improve to 2-2 on the season. On Saturday Summit went back on the road to face the Eagle Valley Eagles. Results were unavailable before press time. Check out Summit in their next game on Tuesday, when they take on the Glenwood Springs Geckos at Kingdom Park in Breckenridge. First pitch of the doubleheader will be 11 a.m.
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