Even without its high school spring season coach in place, the summer baseball team manned by a majority of the Boulder varsity squad might be in a better place at this time than it was a year ago.
They are certainly showing it on the field with Boulder Legion Post 10 posting a 9-5 record and finishing well in a couple of solid tournaments.
Their fifth loss came at the hands of Rocky Mountain on Tuesday night — the first game of a Legion A doubleheader at Scott Carpenter Park — but only more confidence came from the 8-7 setback to the Class 5A runner up.
"We know we can compete against every team in Colorado," said Brendan Van Haute, who went 3-for-4 with two runs in the contest. "We are swinging the bats, and we know we are just as good as anyone."
Van Haute said that not knowing who the Panthers' next coach might be still hasn't really set in, and it might not until close to the time winter throwing sessions come into play. Meanwhile, the Legion Post 10 team is being guided by longtime youth coach Tim Kupfner, the Legion B coach last year.
Kupfner has lots of experience with the current crop of kids in the dugout, and Van Haute said it's made for a comfortable situation.
"We're getting great, positive coaching and learning a lot, and I think (the coaches) are doing a good job with the situation at hand," Van Haute said. "There's a lot of transition, but it's gone smooth and our success has really showed that. Come spring, it'll be a new feel.
"I worked with Tim in Little League and throughout my youth, and we all really know him pretty well."
Boulder already has one big win on the schedule, that being over Fairview in the PBR Centennial State Games this past weekend as part of a 4-1 tournament mark.
They went toe-to-toe with the Lobos on Tuesday, too. Boulder scored four runs in the first inning off three extra-base hits, but Rocky Mountain's powerful lineup produced five extra-base knocks in all — a lot of them early in innings to set up runs.
Boulder battled back from 5-4 and 6-5 deficits, and Preston Stansel's two-run bloop single in the fifth regained the lead for the hosts at 7-6. But an error and a walk in the sixth for Rocky Mountain set up a two-run opposite field single for Trey Wagner — he went 3-for-3 with four RBI — and Boulder could not respond.
Jackson Dinkel was saddled with the loss despite giving up two unearned runs. He came in and got one of his five strikeouts to end the fourth inning with runners on in a 6-5 game, and allowed just the one hit to Wagner that was an opposite-field bloop job.
Eight different Boulder batters produced hits.
"I like the positive attitudes I am seeing, and we just want to stay competitive and roll along," said Kupfner. "We have good, resilient kids and they are working hard."
Rocky Mountain 8, Boulder Legion Post 10 7
At Scott Carpenter Park
Rocky Mountain 032 102 0 — 8 11 2
Legion Post 10 401 020 0 — 7 12 3
W — Cornell. L — Dinkel.
Rocky Mountain hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Heinze 5-0-1-1, Mata-Lloyd 5-2-3-1, Morris 4-0-1-1, Stetter 4-0-0-0, Maciel 2-3-2-0, Wagner 3-2-3-4, Nelson 4-0-0-1, Landis 2-1-0-0, Lewchuk 3-0-1-0, Hyland 1-0-0-0. Totals 33-8-11-8. 2B — Heinze, Mata-Lloyd, Maciel, Wagner. HR —Wagner. SB —Morris, Maciel.
Legion Post 10 hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ben Davis 4-1-1-0, Jordan Wardell 2-1-0-0, Aiden Chandler 4-1-1-1, Cason Winn 4-0-1-1, Cooper Moore 4-2-2-0, Brendan Van Haute 4-2-3-0, Jackson Dinkel 4-0-2-1, Preston Stansel 3-0-1-3, Jake L'Heureux 3-0-1-0. Totals 32-7-12-6. 2B — Davis, Van Haute, Dinkel.
Rocky Mountain pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sanchez 4.2-11-7-6-2-1, Cornell 2.1-1-0-0-0-2.
Legion Post 10 pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mason Hitz 3.2-10-6-6-2-2, Dinkel 3.1-1-2-0-2-5.