Summit Extreme Black Diamonds attempt several rallies, fall to 8-10
Special to the Daily
Week three of Summit Extreme Black Diamonds Baseball started with great excitement. The team was fresh off their first doubleheader sweep and were sitting at 2nd in the MWSCB. But Summit would learn oh-so-fast how fates can turn in the game of baseball.
GRAND JUNCTION ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS
SBD (7-5) started the week off against third place Grand Junction (6-6). Summit pitcher Joe Cominsky was stellar from the start but couldn’t get much run support, and the Diamonds fell behind 3-1 in the fourth. In the fifth, SBD struck back with three runs to grab a 4-3 advantage, but, unfortunately, this lead was short-lived.
“In the sixth, Grand Junction kind of blew it open. It was one of those innings that just kind of goes into quicksand,” said Summit head coach Nick Eversole.
A few walks and a couple homers later, and GJ had stacked nine runs in that tumultuous sixth. Summit was unable to mount a serious comeback and dropped game one 13-5.
Game two started much like the first, with Summit falling behind early. The Black Diamonds lost starting pitcher Stephen Coelho in the second, when he injured his foot on an attempted third-to-first pick-off. After that, the Diamonds couldn’t mount a defensive stop, only preventing GJ from scoring in one inning the entire game. This helped power the Oysters to a 9-5 win.
Costly fielding errors and poor pitching were some of the main reasons behind getting swept. The tell-tale stat of the day was that Summit walked 21 batters over the 14 innings played on Tuesday.
“Our fielders need to be a little better defensively and our pitchers need to be better. When you walk that many batters it’s pretty much impossible to win,” said Eversole.
EAGLE VALLEY EAGLES
On Thursday, Summit tried to bounce back when they travelled to Western Eagle County to face the Eagle Valley Eagles (5-7). Summit got off to a strong start behind Zeb Pierson on the mound and took a 4-2 lead after three innings.
In the fourth, Eagle Valley bounced back with four runs of their own off a combination of fielders’ errors and small-ball offense, which gave them a 6-4 lead.
“That was kind of our time to get a rebound inning,” said Eversole.
But, rebound was exactly what Summit didn’t do. EV added five more runs in the bottom of the fifth, en route to a 11-5 lead. Summit damage control was severely lacking, letting in a whopping nine runs over those two innings.
EV went on to win the game 13-5. On the bright side, Summit did manage three home runs from Colin Antione, Cain Sauls and Matt Beasely. Beasely’s homer was his sixth of the year.
The Black Diamonds (7-8) fell in a 2-0 hole early in Thursday’s final matchup, but that was the last time they would be behind.
With bases loaded in the second, up came Byron, Georgia, native Grant Perry. Thursday was Perry’s 19th birthday, and he made it a special one, hitting a monster grand slam that gave the Diamonds a 4-2 lead. He has been hitting with a vengeance this season, boasting a red-hot .400 batting average. SBD got two more runs in that second, which pushed their lead to four.
“We really made them pay for mistake pitches. Our guys showed their toughness by taking it upon themselves to get a big inning,” said Eversole.
But, the Eagles wouldn’t say die, and quickly tied the game back up 6-6 in the third.
“It was pretty tight, but we did what they did in the first game, and just added runs every running,” said Eversole.
Add Summit did, to the tune of nine runs over four innings. Their scoring onslaught was powered with homers from Debonville, Roubidoux, Bima and another from Beasely. The offensive outburst also included 17 hits, which was enough to propel Summit to a 15-8 victory. With the win, Summit returned to .500 and, even more importantly, avoided losing their fourth straight game.
“We just did a much better job of finding a way to win,” Eversole said. “Those back-to-back innings really cut down the other team’s chances of winning. I was proud of the toughness these guys showed and the fact that they really took it upon themselves to reverse the losing streak.”
GLENWOOD SPRINGS GECKOS
With the team fresh off a win, and a date with league-worst Glenwood Springs (4-10) up next, a successful doubleheader seemed an almost certainty.
In game one, Minnesota-Crookston pitcher Matt Dallas got his first start of the year. Dallas was solid throughout, but a string of mental blunders and precise Gecko hitting left Summit down 6-3 after five.
Tyler Brown came in next and pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Diamonds. Brown has a flawless 0.00 ERA through 5.1 innings of relief this year.
Summit came to up to bat in the seventh needing a mighty comeback. Grant Perry got the rally effort started with a single and then stole second shortly after. This was followed by a Chad Pigg single, which drove in Perry, making the score 6-4.
Nick Balkenbush then followed this up with a single to right. Now, Summit had runners at second and first with no outs and the winning run at-bat. Geckos coach Cameron Jimenez came out and talked with their pitcher but did not remove him from the game.
Christian Cathey came up next and attempted a sacrifice bunt but couldn’t make contact with the ball. This caused Pigg’s pinch runner Buddy Ahlstrom to lead off dangerously far at second and get picked off by the Glenwood catcher. Cathey then followed this up with a Texas League single, which returned the status-quo of two men on.
With only one out, much hope still remained for SBD, especially with Collin Antione up to bat next. Antione, batting a team second-best .419, seemed a perfect candidate to continue the Summit revival. Antione couldn’t put the ball in fair play, however, and struck out swinging.
Now, with two outs, the situation seemed more dire. Thomas Debonville came up next and battled, sending a handful of balls out of play. Unfortunately, when he did make contact in fair territory, he popped out to center, which sent the Summit rally into a sputtering halt.
“These mental errors keep on costing us; we just have to clamp down and focus more,” said a frustrated Eversole.
Matt Beasely notched his eighth homer of the year in the 6-4 loss.
Game two started no better with early struggles from SBD pitcher Joe Cominsky. Cominsky allowed three runs in the first inning alone. By the sixth, the Diamonds were down 8-2, but the team still had one more comeback left in the tank.
A big Cain Sauls hit and a home run from Buddy Ahlstrom closed the gap, but, once again, their rally fell short, and the Geckos took a 9-7 win and doubleheader sweep.
“These fielding and mental errors make one to two runs turn into three to four. … It’s been the same story the last couple of games. When we see our pitchers struggling, we need to step up and make big defensive plays,” Eversole said.
With the two disappointing losses on Saturday, Summit falls to 8-10 on the season. The team will return to play on Tuesday against the Steamboat Storm at Peninsula Park. First pitch is at 11 a.m.
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