BOULDER -- Will Amen might as well have been carrying a volleyball named Wilson each time he came up to bat for the Longmont-Erie Connie Mack baseball team on Saturday night.
For each time he produced a huge hit, he was left stranded on a lonely island out in the Scott Carpenter Park infield a la Tom Hanks in "Cast Away."
In four at-bats in his team's Boulder NIT quarterfinal game against Diamond Club Red, Amen scorched the ball for an extra-base hit, including three doubles and a triple. Four times, however, he was stranded on base when the third out was recorded.
Such was the story for Longmont-Erie in an 11-6 loss to end its run short of Sunday's final day of competition. The acidic combination of stranding runners in scoring position and making some heat-of-the-moment decisions cost them.
"We had good hitters at the plate and we just couldn't come through, and we made mistakes, not necessarily errors but plays where we needed to make outs," said Tom Fobes, co-coach of the Longmont-Erie team. "They followed those possible outs that we didn't get with doubles."
"There was a few times when he hit the ball hard, but you've got to string hits together and get those runs across," added Amen, who drove in four of the team's six runs with his explosive display. "It just didn't happen (Saturday).
"We had been stringing hits, and our defense, too. It was better the first (four) games. We had only allowed five runs."
What might have hurt the most is Longmont-Erie dealt the first blow and was entangled in a seesaw-type game until the sixth inning. It had leads of 4-1 and 6-5 taken away as their opponents connected for 15 total hits -- many of them, obviously, with runners on.
Amen tripled with the bases loaded in the third frame to get his team its first lead. Diamond Club returned with four runs in the fifth, only to see the host team score a pair in the bottom of the frame.
The back-and-forth antics came to an end in the sixth. Nick Madrid came on to pitch for Longmont-Erie, and Diamond Club greeted him with four straight hits atop the order, including doubles from Noah Brown and Shining Mountain graduate/Boulder baseball player Ray Feigal. Madrid was then replaced by Barrett Ingvaldsen, but Bobby Fernandez's third of four hits produced another run-scoring double, completing the rough stretch with nine runs in two innings.
Longmont-Erie had chances to push back. Ingvaldsen doubled to lead off the sixth -- he was stranded at third -- and the team ended the game with two flyouts with runners on second and third.
"It was just those two innings ... they did a good job in those two innings of hitting the ball hard," Fobes said of the visitors.
"We kind of changed our approach and stopped trying to hit balls in the air -- tried to hit them more on a line, and things took care of themselves," said Feigal, who finished with three RBI's in a familiar ballpark. "It's all about hustling and beating out the infield hits, and then when you get the big (hits) you capitalize on them."
The semifinals and championship games will all take place Sunday at Scott Carpenter Park, and Diamond Club Red -- which consists of players from all over the state -- will play Fairview at 9 a.m. for a berth in the title contest. Fairview beat Cherokee Trail in the day's first quarterfinal.
Diamond Club Blue also advanced with an 18-16 marathon victory over Brighton, while Rocky Mountain, which went through pool play having not allowed a run, played Team Colorado-Cackowski late Saturday night to determine the fourth semifinalist.
"It should be fun. I've played those guys a lot, so it'll be fun to come out here and see what we can do," Feigal said.
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Diamond Club Red 11, Longmont-Erie 6
At Scott Carpenter Park
Diamond Club Red 010 045 1 -- 11 15 2
Longmont-Erie 004 020 0 -- 6 7 1
W -- Kopplinger. L -- Madrid
Diamond Club Red hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Brown 5-2-2-0, Fleming 4-2-2-1, Priola 5-2-2-1, Feigal 4-2-1-3, Fernandez 4-1-4-2, Lovato 5-1-1-2, Freeburg 3-0-0-0, DeLozier 4-0-2-1, Will Lowry 3-1-1-1. Totals 37-11-15-11. 2B -- Brown, Feigal, Fernandez.
Longmont-Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Yee 4-1-1-0, Lee 2-2-1-0, Crist 4-0-0-0, Fesmire 2-2-0-0, Amen 4-0-4-4, Crites 4-0-0-0, Z. Zamudio 4-0-0-0, Ingvaldsen 3-0-1-0, Rothe 2-1-0-0. Totals 29-6-7-4. 2B -- Lee, Amen 3, Ingvaldsen. 3B -- Amen.
Diamond Club Red pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Wagenhals 4.1-5-6-1-3-5, Kopplinger 2.2-2-0-0-0-0.
Longmont-Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Crites 5-8-5-5-1-4, Madrid 0.1-4-4-4-0-0, Ingvaldsen 0.2-2-1-1-1-1, Wilke 1-1-1-1-2-2.