Summit baseball finishes first season under Padjen |

Summit baseball finishes first season under Padjen

LAKEWOOD – Monday was a lost opportunity for the Summit High School baseball team to spoil Englewood’s playoff hopes and get a win on the final day of its season.

In the first game of a doubleheader, the Tigers let a three-run lead slip away in the final inning, losing 7-6 to the Pirates. Summit had built a 6-3 cushion on the strength of a pair of RBIs from sophomores Kylor Dossett and Dan Pringle. Senior Cole Denckla chipped in with two hits, and Ryan Norton had a triple.

Pitchers Eric Nilsen and Cory Olson combined for six strong innings before things fell apart in the seventh. Englewood would have joined Summit on the postseason sidelines with a loss, but a sacrifice fly in the last of the seventh extended the Pirates’ season.

Summit finished the year later that day with a 7-0 loss to Alameda. After just a five-minute break between games, the Tigers gave up five runs in the first inning.

“We had a let-down,” said John Padjen as he finished his first year as Summit head coach. “It’s tough to come back from a big game like that.”

In his final game as a Tiger, Norton pitched a complete game and went 2-for-3 at the plate. It was also the last game for seniors Casey Anderson, David Payne, Jordy Lynch and Denckla.

The Tigers got their first-ever Class 4A Jeffco League victory against Jefferson Friday and also beat Battle Mountain on April 1. They finished with a 2-11 overall record and were 1-8 in league.

It was a challenging season. Because of the winter-like spring weather, Summit went the entire season without practicing outdoors. The March blizzard forced cancellations of a couple nonleague games and pushed the entire league season into a three-week period.

During one stretch, Summit had seven games in eight school days. Because players are released early on game days, the schedule began to affect academics. The Tigers had to forfeit their league contest with Golden – a reschedule they didn’t know about until gameday – because they already had a catch-up study session planned.

“I’m still not happy about that,” Padjen said.

But on the field, the packed schedule helped Summit. At least they were outside each day playing ball.

“It’s a heck of a lot better than being in that gym,” Padjen said.

Summit’s underclassmen are planning to play in the American Legion league under Padjen this summer. The Tigers didn’t play last season, which hurt the team this spring.

“There’s a lot of things that need to be covered in the summer that, with our lack of outdoor practices, we didn’t get in,” Padjen said.

Summit also plans an early season trip next year to southern Colorado to get some grass time in.

“We need to take a spring trip early if we’re going to be competitive,” Padjen said. “We have to get outside to be able to compete in the Jeffco Conference.”

The Tigers are excited about its sophomore class – Eric Nilsen, Sean Star, Garrison Green, Dossett, Pringle and Cody Schlunsen – most of which had productive varsity seasons. Freshman Drew Arnesen also contributed on the varsity level. Schlunsen, a promising slugger, missed most of the year with a broken hand.

“We need to be more than a recreational program,” Padjen said. “We need to have players who want to play summer ball, and we’re encouraged because we think we have the kind of group that’s willing to do that.”

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