Summit scales Pikes Peak competition
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Summit County, Colorado
Summit’s Asher Humphreys was on the mound with two on, two out and a 2-0 in the final inning of the Pikes Peaks Challenge championship game Sunday. With the tying run on second, the Summit Extreme 14-U squad needed one more out to secure an unlikely win over the hometown Lions and a title in the Colorado Springs tourney.
Humphreys hurled a two-seam fastball that the opposing batter was able to dribble through the right side of the infield.
The first runner scored.
Summit right fielder Matt Regan charged the grounder just as the Lions’ second runner rounded third base. Regan hopped up and rifled the ball to home plate, where Extreme catcher Nic Berry snagged the shot – then took a shot from the baserunner.
Both teams anxiously awaited the game-deciding call, and as the umpire signaled an out, Summit had sealed its championship.
“This team has been working incredibly hard,” head coach Mike Connors said. “Our players have been taking indoor batting practice once a week and indoor bullpens twice a week since March. We have had very little field time this season and have never had the whole team on the same field for a practice.”
Combine the lack of field time with the way the Extreme started the tourney, and the title becomes even more impressive.
On Saturday, the Extreme lost both of its pool-play games. The first was a nail-biting 8-7 defeat to the Thin Air Thunder. Summit lost 10-8 later in the day.
With the 0-2 start, the Extreme was left with the last-place seed for Sunday’s single-elimination bracket.
That didn’t stop Summit from stomping the PWBC Isotopes 10-3 in Sunday’s first game, though.
“We have been criticized for spending too much time on the mental game,” Connors said. “It is my opinion that the confidence training we use gave these players the tools they needed to be able to play so well after two devastating losses on Saturday.”
And the Extreme didn’t slow down from there.
After only a 15 minute break between games, Summit was set for a rematch with the Thunder in the semifinals.
The Extreme started fast, with their first seven hitters scoring six runs on five singles and two doubles. Summit eventually cruised to the win.
In the final, Summit was pinned against a powerful Lions team, which at 14-2 on the season, hadn’t lost a game against a team within its division all spring.
That is, until they faced Summit.
Regan, the Extreme’s starting pitcher, didn’t allow a run in his three innings, keeping the game scoreless until the fourth inning, when teammate Zeb Pierson belted a change up to center field for a single. Then Cutter Pasternak hit a first-pitch double, putting Summit runners at second and third.
Switch-hitting Dakota Connors then drilled a 3-1 pitch through the gap in right-center field, driving in both runs for the 2-0 lead.
With the lead, pitchers Parker Poage and Humphreys did the rest of the work to get Summit a shutout win.
“Extremes’ educational system has put them in a position to know what to do in almost any baseball situation,” coach Connors said of his players. “These players kept their heads up, took what they’ve been learning and executed to near perfection in this tournament. I am incredibly proud to be their coach.”
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