AURORA — The spring seasons for the Silver Creek baseball team each of the past two years has ended with extreme disappointment. Quietly, however, their top summer squad has put itself in position for a state championship that still has more than its fair share of merit.
After winning two games on Sunday at Eaglecrest High School, the Raptors are just one win away from an elusive title. The American Legion A state tournament will come down to a Monday showdown against Fort Morgan at 4 p.m. at EHS.
"It's huge accomplishment from when I was a freshman and we had three wins, to now we're fighting for that state title, and this is just a big step forward for what we want to do," said Lucas Bush, who had two hits in each Sunday victory as Silver Creek knocked out Northridge 9-7 and Fort Morgan 9-2. "After Saturday's game (a loss) we were a bit frustrated but we came back cool and collected. We knew we were going to play to the best of our ability, and we came out with two wins because of it."
The Raptors' coaching staff could only recall a summer in 2005 when the program won the Legion B state title, and Silver Creek appears hungry to end the drought. Last year's A team were semifinalists, but they took it one step further this year by putting a controlled effort in all three facets of the game on Sunday.
Dylan Kramer pitched a complete game against Northridge — a huge boost for the team allowing for Dylan Ordway to start the next game against the Mustangs.
Kramer allowed 13 hits but walked just two batters, and his defense came through for him against a rival team. Also in that game, George Ramirez came through with a bases-clearing hit with two outs in the second and the Raptors scored two sixth inning runs to stretch their lead to 9-5 over the Grizzlies — who came in as the No. 1 seed.
"That was a team win, for sure," Kramer said.
Fort Morgan emerged as the only undefeated team up to Sunday thanks to a 19-13 win over Silver Creek on Saturday, but the Raptors exacted revenge in what turned out to be a completely different type of contest.
The Mustangs couldn't square anything up on Ordway, who only allowed three hits while striking out just one batter. Shortstop Chris Smedley led a busy-but-sound infield, and Max Browne went 4-for-4 with a two-run home run in the third that energized the team's lineup the rest of the way.
Silver Creek plated eight runs between the third and fifth innings to set up the winner-take-all matchup on Monday.
"It was nice to have a warmup game (against Northridge)," Bush cracked. ""
"We got down and had to come back in that first one, and then we were able to get on top of (Fort Morgan) here and just never let them back in it," Kramer added. "We're just working on finishing the job when we get in a situation to win."
American Legion A State Tournament
Silver Creek 9, Northridge 7
At Eaglecrest HS
Northridge 212 000 2 — 7 13 1
Silver Creek 050 112 x — 9 10 3
W — Kramer. L — Werner.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elting 3-2-1-1, Ramirez 4-0-2-3, Browne 4-1-1-0, Bush 3-2-2-0, Gregory 4-0-1-1, T. Olinger 3-1-0-0, Kramer 2-2-1-0, Borrego 0-0-0-0, Smedley 3-1-1-1, R. Olinger 3-0-1-1.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kramer 7-13-7-4-2-5.
Silver Creek 9, Fort Morgan 2
Silver Creek 102 330 0 — 9 12 2
Fort Morgan 000 010 1 — 2 4 2
W — Ordway. L — Shurtleff.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elting 4-1-1-1, Ramirez 4-2-1-1, Browne 4-3-4-3, Bush 3-0-2-2, Gregory 3-0-2-1, Bicknell 1-0-0-0, T. Olinger 4-1-1-0, Kramer 1-1-0-0, Smedley 3-1-1-1, Borrego 1-0-0-0, R. Olinger 3-0-0-0.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Ordway 6-3-1-1-5-1, Carlough 1-1-1-1-1-0.