LAFAYETTE — Coach Matt Castilleja knew it was going to be an uphill battle for his young Puma Baseball squad in the Boulder NIT.
The team made up of mostly incoming freshman and sophomores at Peak to Peak are learning on the fly against some of the best summer club teams, not only in Colorado, but from across the country.
On Thursday afternoon, in their third game in Pool D (they dropped both games Wednesday), Castilleja's team drew the NoCo Roughnecks — a team made up of graduated seniors from all across Northern Colorado.
A mismatch? Yes, but it will go down as a game that can only stand to make the Pumas better.
When the dust settled on the lopsided affair, the Roughnecks improved to 3-0 in the tournament with a 17-0 win and a no-hitter from recently graduated Erie pitcher Nick Gavit.
"A lot of these guys are looking at seeing 85 MPH for the first time and once they get a taste of it, I tell them not to look at the scoreboard," Castilleja said, "Let's get our work in, because come spring time, we will be playing the top 3A schools and we are going to be seeing top-notch pitching."
The Pumas were facing former Tiger Gavit, who recently went 2-3 for the Tigers and coach Harold Simmons, and were able to square up a few offerings from him early on. Heider Iacometti and Austin Clark each made loud outs with fly balls to center.
Gavit, who will try and walk on at Metro State next season, was simply throwing gas against the outmatched young Pumas and it was working. He only allowed one base runner the entire game — he plunked Mitchell Kerr with one out to go for perfection — and didn't allow a hit while striking out four.
"It always feels good to do something like that, no matter what team you are facing and no matter the competition," Gavit said. "Coming here, beating teams and run-ruling them really gives us a lot of confidence in ourselves and other teams will notice us."
After a scoreless first inning against Garrett Shriver, one of those aforementioned incoming freshman and just 14-years old, the Roughnecks got the bats working.
A big fourth inning saw them send 17 batters to the plate and score 12 runs on nine hits. They were also aided by two Pumas errors, including one in right field that allowed Andres garcia to circle the bases.
Andrew Kavan (Longmont), Josh Crites (Erie), Clint Allen (Erie), Gunner Pickett (Mead) and Gavit combined for 11 of the 13 Roughnecks hits and drove in 10 runs.
"It's always good to know the bats are going," Gavit said.
The Roughnecks will conclude the Pool play portion of the tournament on Friday morning against Diamond Club Blue and Rawhide Iron Horse at 9 and 11:30 a.m.
Peak will face the BayBears in their final game of the tournament.
NoCo Roughnecks 17, Puma Baseball 0
At Peak to Peak
NoCo Roughnecks 041 (12) — 17 13 0
Puma Baseball 000 0 — 0 0 4
W — Nick Gavit. L — Garrett Shriver.
NoCo Roughnecks hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Andrew Kavan 3-3-2-3, Josh Crites 4-2-3-2, Clint Allen 3-1-1-2, Gunner Pickett 4-2-2-1, Nick Gavit 3-0-3-2, Locke Barnhardt 0-3-0-0, Andres Garcia 4-2-2-2, Jeb Wolf 4-0-0-0, Blake Slaymaker 1-2-0-0, Blake Horton 1-2-0-0. Totals 27-16-13-12. 2B — Kavan 2, Allen, Pickett. SB — Crites, Barnhardt, Garcia, Slaymeker.
Puma Baseball hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Heider Iacometti 2-0-0-0, Isaac Van Tol 2-0-0-0, Mitchell Kerr 1-0-0-0, Austin Clark 2-0-0-0, Garrett Shriver 1-0-0-0, Nate Leash 1-0-0-0, Hayden Wilcox 1-0-0-0, Colton Nelson 1-0-0-0, JT Blanchard 1-0-0-0. Totals 12-0-0-0.
NoCo Roughnecks pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gavit 4-0-0-0-0-4.
Puma Baseball pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Shriver 3+-8-12-6-1-2, Nelson 1-5-5-5-2-0.