Extreme Black Diamonds baseball goes 3-3 in Week 1
Special to the Daily
2016 Summit Extreme Black Diamonds schedule
Summit County’s local collegiate team plays in the Mountain West Summer College Baseball League with five others, including Vail, Grand Junction, Eagle Valley, Steamboat and Glenwood Springs/Carbondale. All games are double-headers beginning at noon.
Tuesday, June 14 — Summit vs. Glenwood Springs
Thursday, June 16 — Summit at Steamboat
Saturday, June 18 — Summit at Vail
The Summit Extreme Black Diamonds college baseball team (SBD) completed its first week of the 2016 summer season with a 3-3 record.
June 7 — at Vail VIpers
SBD took to the field for their season-opening doubleheader at Battle Mountain High School against the Vail Vipers. Summit kicked off the year with a bang, tagging Vail for eight runs in the first two innings alone. Propelled by a two-run home run from Blake Butcher and solid hitting from Aussie Nick Boys, the Black Diamonds were able to coast to a 10-3 lead through five innings. Summit withstood a weak Viper rally and walked off with a 12-5 win — the second time this two-year-old team has won the season opener.
“We had really strong at-bats,” Black Diamonds head coach Brady Kirkpatrick. “(Tavin) Thompson … had a had a hell of a game for us”
Thompson (LaGrange College, Georgia) made two highlight-worthy grabs in the field to get Summit out of two tough jams. Summit-native pitcher Mitch Gray (Trinidad State) was also solid throughout, only allowing two runs off five hits with three strikeouts in five innings. In the seventh, sidearm hurler Tom Novick (San Diego U.) came in for relief. He extinguished the Vipers, tossing two strikeouts in the final frame.
In game two — the doubleheader finale — things didn’t go as planned for Summit, and Vail handed them a 13-7 loss. Summit started the game just as hot as they ended the previous, knocking in two runs in the first for a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the third.
This is where SBD took its first and final lead. A few fielding miscues and poorly placed pitches in the third and fourth innings allowed Vail to jump in the pilot’s seat with a comfortable 7-3 lead.
SBD struck back in the top of the fifth, tying the score 7-7. Butcher (LaGrange College, GA) helped ignite the mini-rally with a crucial two-run RBI single.
And then the Summit bats went cold and the Viper offense stayed red-hot with six runs to close the game.
Despite ending the day on a sour note, Kirkpatirck had a positive attitude about the first test of the season.
“Our pitchers left too many balls up…but I like how we’re doing,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’re right where I want us to be.”
June 9 — vs. Grand Junction Rocky Mountain Oysters
Summit (1-1) returned to play June 9 for their home opener against the Grand Junction Rocky Mountain Oysters (0-2).
The Oysters wasted no time getting comfortable in the cracker box-sized Peninsula Park, blasting two home runs in each of the first two innings. Summit struck back in the third with back-to-back home runs from Butcher and Blane Swift (LaGrange College, GA) to tie things 5-5.
The score stayed that way until the fifth, when back-to-back Summit fielding errors, and a three-run Grand Junction homer gave the Oysters a 9-5 lead. They held on to spoil the Black Diamonds home opener by three, handing the with the 10-7 loss.
Tyler Daugherty (San Diego U.) took the loss on the mound for SBD, allowing nine runs with six strikeouts over 4 and 2/3 innings.
In game two, Summit sought to even the series and wasted no time doing so, stringing together six hits and a home run from Parker Johnson (Iowa Central CC) to take a 7-0 lead after two innings. The scoring barrage continued in the third and Summit added six more runs off a collection of walks, plus a Tyler Zupon (Salt Lake CC) home run.
The Oysters wouldn’t go down without a fight and gradually clawed back to within three, 13-10, and only one out in the top of the seventh.
The comeback didn’t happen. Summit’s Swift held tough on the mound and retired the next two batters to salvage a split for the home series.
Butcher had a monster day overall, batting 6-7 with eight RBI’s while Swift was also solid, going 3-6 with a homer in addition to his pitching duties.
June 11 — Eagle Valley Eagles
For the final two games of Week 1, Summit (2-2) headed back over to Vail Pass to take on the Eagle Valley Eagles (1-3).
In the opener, Summit jumped out to an early 4-0 with a Boys single and Butcher double. The scoreboard lit up again for Black Diamonds when Boys scored on a passed ball. Then, Butcher and Johnson scored on a two-run single hit by Dante Gutierrez (San Diego U.).
SBD added another four in the second, but the Eagles of Eagle Valley hung around, battering Gray with nine hits and eight runs through three innings, 8-8.
Summit regained a 10-8 lead with two runs in the fourth, but EV responded in the fifth with three runs off some textbook small-ball play (something to watch for.) The Eagles had only two hits but advanced with sacrifice hits and two walks. When the damage was finally done, Summit was down, 11-10.
Over the next two innings, Summit left three batters stranded and couldn’t eke out a single run to waste Gray’s solid pitching effort in the final two frames — and the ballgame.
If there was any frustration remaining from Game One, the Black Diamonds let their bats feel their fury in Game Two. Summit scorched six hits and eight runs off Eagle Valley starter Kyle Gracey in the first inning alone. A two-run triple from Boys put an exclamation mark on the run and set the tone for the rest of the game.
SBD scored four runs in each inning thereafter, and, by the fifth, the game was called for the mercy rule. The final tally, 20-4, one of the most lopsided wins in Summit Extreme Black Diamonds history.
Boys was a perfect 4-4 at the plate. Zupon went 2-4 with a home run and five RBIs. On the mound, Matt Stone (Iowa Central CC) delivered an exceptional performance, pitching a complete game with six hits.
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