LONGMONT — The Boulder National Invitational baseball tournament comes at a time in the summer when teams are perhaps in need of a jolt of energy.
For the Silver Creek Raptors, getting a chance to host and play in the tournament was welcome as head coach Mike Apodaca looks to expand his summer program over the next couple of years. And on Wednesday as pool play started at the Silver Creek field, the Raptors took the form of a focused team in a 6-0 win over Lightning Baseball to get a head start on their competition.
While the goal during summer always remains improved individual work to gear up for spring seasons, tournament play allows for teammates to work toward something else. For a team like Silver Creek, whose roster is filled entirely with their own school's players, the NIT can serve as an event that will get them to hone in together in the clutch — and maybe that will carry over to varsity postseason play.
"At this point in the year, having gone through spring and summer we should be getting really clean with our (play), seeing pitches, hitting well, throwing strikes and making plays. So I think we come into this thinking we want to win," said Dylan Ordway, who pitched a complete game shutout of the 16-under Lightning in Pool F. "It was a good start to the tournament.
"The goal is to get to the (bracket play) and play in Boulder."
Of course, the Lightning looked a bit overmatched as one of the youngest teams among 31 in the 19U tournament. But Silver Creek, and Ordway specifically, had a lot to do with that.
One of the Raptors' top returning arms was nearly flawless, not allowing a Lightning baserunner to get past second the entire game. He walked two batters and struck out eight as he worked with a lead from the top of the second inning on.
"We did a great job overall, but when Dylan is on the mound and is killing it like that, it's awesome," said Sam Elting, the team's leadoff hitter.
"I went out there thinking we could dominate, and it was just my job to throw strikes and keep the game rolling," Ordway said. "You just try not to walk guys and let your defense make plays."
The Raptors scored four runs in the first inning on five hits that included back-to-back doubles from Tanner Olinger and Dylan Kramer, and they were able to add runs in the third and fourth frames. Kramer pounded a triple to dead center field in the third that scored Olinger to make it 4-0.
Elting scored twice and added a stolen base, and Max Browne had an RBI single as well.
"It's always exciting to be in a tournament just because there's a little more pressure to win, so you have to be up for it," Elting said.
The Raptors played Slammers Fiscus in the second game of the day at SCHS. Club teams Premier West Cardinals and Colorado Rogue fill out Pool F, with the pool winner advancing to Boulder and the NIT quarterfinals on Saturday.
Silver Creek 6, Lightning Baseball 0
At Silver Creek HS
Lightning 000 000 0 — 0 1 2
Silver Creek 401 100 x — 6 11 1
W — Ordway.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elting 3-2-1-0, Ramirez 3-0-0-0, Browne 4-1-2-0, Ordway 4-0-2-1, Borego 0-0-0-0, Gregory 3-1-1-1, T. Olinger 2-2-1-2, Kramer 3-0-2-2, R. Olinger 0-0-0-0, Bicknell 1-0-1-0, Smedley 3-0-1-0. Totals 26-6-11-6. 2B — T. Olinger, Kramer, Smedley. 3B —Kramer. SB —Elting, Ramirez.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Ordway 7-1-0-0-2-8.