Short-handed Tigers drop bizarre game to Aspen
SILVERTHORNE – The final out of the game between Aspen and Summit High School occurred Thursday without a pitch being thrown. The Tigers only had eight eligible players and, when an injured Shannon Buhler’s turn in the lineup came around, the Tigers seventh-inning rally simply stopped.
Even the Aspen players were unsure of why the game was over, and managed little celebration in their 11-10 upset of the Tigers.
Aspen lost to Summit 6-1 earlier in the season.
Because it was Summit’s final game of the regular season, Tigers head coach Shelly Koehler wanted all her players to see some action.
She used her subs early, limiting her to nine players after the second inning.
So when Buhler, Summit’s leading hitter, slipped on home plate and hyperextended her knee in the third inning, the Tigers were down to eight. Every time Buhler’s turn came in the lineup, Summit was penalized an out.
And, sure enough, it made the difference in the game.
“That kind of luck usually goes against us,” Skiers head coach Ed Zane said. “We’ve been playing with nine all season. I kept telling our kids, “Don’t get injured.'”
Summit started well and enjoyed a 5-1 lead before the Tigers were forced to play two in the outfield.
Aspen’s Jenna Rosen took advantage by driving a ball to a wide-open left field, circling the bases and sparking her team to a 7-run fifth inning that put the Skiers ahead, 8-5.
Summit cut the lead to one in the bottom of the fifth, when Caitlin Schmidt and Brittany Ellsworth both drove balls to the outfield and scored. Aspen and Summit stayed one-run apart after the sixth, and the Skiers put three runs on the board in the seventh as insurance.
In the bottom of the seventh, down 11-7, the Tigers rallied.
Summit’s Megen Skulski led off the inning with a triple and scored on a Brittany Warner single.
With one out, Cissy Daniels singled in Warner. With Buhler’s spot being on-deck, it came down to Mackenzie Voorhees, who’s sacrifice fly to left would have usually been the right thing to do.
But, after Daniel scored to cut the lead to one, Buhler was ruled out and the game was over.
“It was weird,” said Warner, who, with Voorhees, took the outfield duties. “I’ve never been a part of something like that before. We’re a strong enough team, we could have come back.”
Voorhees had to track down most of the balls that reached the beleaguered outfield.
“It seemed like they hit it everywhere we weren’t,” she said.
“It wasn’t a league game, so we were a little laid back.”
Koehler defended her decision to sub early. Freshman Lynlee Holloway got her first start and went 1-for -4.
The other substitute, freshman Nichole Mason, started, batted second, and went 1-1 with a single and a run scored.
“It was bizarre but, from the get-go, we wanted to go out, get everyone in the game and have fun,” Koehler said. “If nothing else, it will put us into districts with a different perspective.”
Summit (9-7) has a week off before traveling to the Tri-
One team advances to regionals, meaning the Tigers must win two games.
NOTES: Cissy Daniels went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI Thursday. … Schmidt went 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs. … In the fifth inning, the Skiers sent 12 batters to the plate and scored five runs with two outs. … Buhler’s injury also caused the last out of the fourth inning, when the Tigers had two runners on base. Buhler said she expects to return to the lineup for districts. Before she went out, she was 0-for-2 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI.
Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 257, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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