Tigers go down 28-9 in season finale
BRECKENRIDGE – In the realm of “good signs,” what happened to Summit High School baseball co-head coach John Padjen on Tuesday did not rank high.Only a couple hundred feet from the entrance to Kingdom Park, where he was heading for the afternoon’s home opener/season finale against Conifer, Padjen was pulled over for speeding. He was dressed in full SHS uniform. He was in a rush. And, ultimately, he was given a speeding ticket.Although hard to believe, it quickly got worse for Padjen and the Tigers.The visiting Lobos jumped out to a 20-0 lead in their first two times at bat, and overcame a surprising late-inning offensive charge from Summit to win 28-9. The game that was shortened to five innings, but still took nearly three hours to complete.”It’s just kind of the way the season has gone,” Padjen said later of the speeding ticket. “It was like, ‘Oh, no.'”
The Tigers finish the season at 1-15 overall and 0-9 in the 4A Jeffco League, ending the year on a 13-game losing streak. They were outscored 247-48 this season.Despite Tuesday’s 19-run defeat, however, Summit did something against Conifer it hasn’t done all year – score more than eight runs. In fact, the only time the Tigers scored more than six before Tuesday was on March 15, when they beat Manual 8-7 for their only win.Sophomore Scott Campbell crushed a two-run homer to deep right field Tuesday, highlighting the offensive output. He later added an RBI groundout, and finished the game as one of three SHS players with at least two RBIs. Freshmen Erik Brooks (double, two RBIs) and Jordan Sitkoski (two-run single) were the others.Still, some early defensive lapses paved the way to a dose of trouble too beefy to dig out of. Battling a swirling wind and the jitters that come with performing in front of the home crowd for the first time all year, Summit misplayed four first-inning fly balls. Conifer made the Tigers pay.The Lobos scored nine times in the first inning – eight off of the southpaw Campbell, who started for Summit but lasted only a third of an inning with little support behind him.
Conifer (7-11, 3-7 Jeffco) then added 11 runs in the top of the second, putting the game well out of reach.”That’s how it always is,” Campbell said. “First two innings, we really don’t do too well.”The answer wasn’t as clear to Padjen.”I don’t know what it was,” the coach said, “because they’re a lot better than what they showed those first couple innings. Those were plays that they’ve routinely made the last three years. So why they didn’t make them, I have no idea.”Almost without exception, Conifer took advantage of every Summit miscue. The Lobos raked the ball all over the field, showcasing their power with three home runs.
Senior Colin Hacker accounted for two of those, a two-run shot in the first, then a towering grand slam in the third.Through it all, a devoted fan base of about 60 students and parents remained on hand to cheer the team they’d been waiting to see perform at home all season. The Tigers responded once Conifer’s coaches called off the attack.Elliot Cochran cooled the Lobo bats over the final three innings, and Summit began making things happen at the plate as well as on the bases. Drew Arnesen, one of two seniors playing his final game as a Tiger, along with Taylor Mack, went 3-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run. Cochran finished 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, an RBI and a straight steal of home, and speedster Josh Kroening scored twice and stole two bases.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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