DENVER — Silver Creek, newly minted as the No. 1 team in this week's Class 4A baseball poll by CHSAANow, had an opportunity to play on Colorado baseball's grandest stage on Wednesday afternoon.
For Austin Wood, pitching at Coors Field actually wasn't out of his comfort zone. In fact, the senior was making his third appearance at the Colorado Rockies' stadium after throwing four hitless innings last season during a 13-1 win over 5A Rangeview and appearing in the 2015 all-state game.
This time, starting against the Raiders (6-4) in a non-conference tilt, Wood flirted with a no-hitter again. In the end, he only gave up one hit, with two outs left in the fifth, no walks and struck out nine in five innings during a 9-2 victory for Silver Creek. The win pushed the Raptors' record to 10-2 on the season.
"I wanted to go pitch by pitch today," Wood said. "My body felt great. I'm finally starting to loosen and get into game shape. I just wanted to put us in position to win this game. Obviously we were at Coors Field and it doesn't get bigger than that. It was a really fun day."
An imposing 6-foot- 4, Wood got into a groove from the beginning and, other than a two-run sixth for the Raiders to pull within 5-2, Silver Creek's pitching and blistering bats (13 hits) snuffed out Rangeview and pushed the Raptors' hot streak to five wins in six games.
"These are interesting games," Silver Creek coach Mike Apodaca said. "You're playing on a big stage and you don't know how kids are going to react to it. Knowing Austin, he had been here before. I knew we were going to get a quality start out of him. That really settled everyone else. We were able to get a lot of kids in and get a win, so that makes it even better."
For a Raptor team competing in the rigorous Northern Conference, with seven league games remaining to close out the regular season, Wednesday was a chance to step away from the Northern title race but focus on continued improvement before the home stretch of the season.
Nick Metcalf and Max Browne had three hits apiece and a number of players, even off the bench, contributed. Apodaca was pleased with the effort, but also identified areas for improvement.
"I felt like we left too many situations out there," he said. "If we have an Achilles heel right now, I feel like its lack of execution at times. Scoring runners when they're in position, we've got to be able to do that more consistently. That's our next step. Once we do that, I think we'll be a tough out."
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/BoCoPreps
Silver Creek 9, Rangeview 2
At Coors Field
Rangeview 000 002 0 — 2 3 1
Silver Creek 300 024 x — 9 13 1
W — Austin Wood. L — Anthony Gustin.
Rangeview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — CJ Peacock 2-0- 0-1, Thomas Rutherford 2-0- 0-0, Josh Schumacher 3-0- 1-1, Jared Clanton 1-0- 0-0, Jace Lester 2-0- 0-0, Zach Sheppard 3-0- 1-0, Anthony Sanchez 3-0- 0-0, Sebastian Wiegand 2-0- 0-0, Andrew Cooper 1-0- 0-0, Isaiah Carrillo 2-0- 0-0, Edgar Castaneda 1-1- 1-0. Totals 21-2- 3-1. SB —Lester.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cole Winn 3-1- 1-2, George Ramirez 4-1- 1-0, Nick Metcalf 4-2- 3-1, Austin Wood 3-0- 1-0, Cason Winn 4-0- 1-1, Max Browne 4-1- 3-3, Dylan Kramer 1-0- 1-0, Cade Call 0-0- 0-0, Sam Elting 1-0- 0-0, Cole Borrego 1-0- 1-0, Nick Hartman 0-1- 0-1, Adam Wager 1-1- 1-0, Harrison 0-1- 0-0. Totals 26-9- 13-8. SB —Ramirez 3, Borrego.
Rangeview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Thomas Rutherford .2-3- 3-3- 4-0, Anthony Gustin 2.1-1- 1-0-1- 3, Devan Gibson 2-4- 4-4- 3-0, Gonzalo Luevano 2-4- 1-1- 1-0.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Austin Wood 5-1- 0-0- 0-9, Dylan Ordway 1-0- 0-0- 1-2, Nick Gambirasi 1-3- 2-2- 0-0.