BOULDER — In sports, there is no such thing as a moral victory.
On Friday night at Scott Carpenter Field, the Boulder Gold team, playing in its final game of Pool B play in the Boulder NIT, gave a more experienced Aces team all it could handle for six innings.
Ultimately the Aces, behind an awkward six run seventh inning, made the score look more lopsided than it actually was, 11-3, and clinched a spot in Saturday's quarterfinals.
"They have three kids going to college and another that is going to get drafted next year, they are already predestined for that, and I've got 16-year-olds and had a 14-year-old on the mound at one point," Boulder coach Eddie Toledo said. "I'm pretty happy with the kids and they are progressing pretty well."
The young Panthers put a scare into the Aces and starting pitcher Zach Berohn, a recent Monarch graduate. After a leadoff single by Liam Yuill, he came around to score on Ivan Loya's single four hitters later.
The Aces cashed in two walks from Legacy's Coogan brothers, Jake and John, in the top of the third inning to take the lead for good.
It was a recurring theme for the Panthers on Friday night. In all they walked 12 batters and made things a little more difficult on themselves than they probably needed to be in a game nobody thought they would even be in.
""The moral victory comes from the fact that they see they can play with the older kids and maybe the bigger programs," said Toledo, whose team went 1-3 in Pool B. "But it's a mental game for them and they need to overcome the adversity when it comes."
Yuill had a big game at the plate, going 3 for 4, with a triple and two runs scored. In the bottom of the fifth, after a leadoff single, he advanced to third on a groundout and a stolen base, then scored on a throwing error by catcher Jake Coogan.
Toledo didn't have lofty expectations coming into the BNIT but also knows that the valuable game experience will pay dividends in the coming weeks, including the state tournament.
"This is just a learning process for us," he said. "We are gearing up for state and our goal is to go out and win that."
The Boulder Purple team, by virtue of its 3-2 victory over Rapid City in the final game of Pool A play, advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals as the second wildcard. The Panthers will play Idaho Fall at 4:30 p.m. back at Scott Carpenter.
Quaretrfinal play begins at 9 a.m.
Aces 11, Boulder Gold 3
At Scott Carpenter Park
Aces 002 102 6 — 11 9 2
Boulder Gold 100 011 0 — 3 7 3
W — Zach Berohn. L — Brandt Toledo.
Aces hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — John Coogan 2-2-1-2, Ryley Humrighouse 4-0-1-1, Alex Bumpas 4-0-2-1, Casey Thompson 3-1-2-2, Zach Berohn 0-0-0-0, Brogan Sontag 0-0-0-0, Luke McClanahan 0-0-0-0, Corey Grace 4-1-1-2, Ryan Kelly 4-1-1-1, Stone Holtzman 3-1-1-0, Pat Kauffmann 2-3-0-1, Jake Coogan 0-2-0-0. Totals 26-11-9-10. 3B — Grace. SB — Ja. Coogan, Holtzman, Kauffmann.
Boulder Gold hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Liam Yuill 4-2-3-0, Eric Loya 2-0-0-0, Sean Coan 2-0-0-0, Chris Fluegal 4-0-1-0, Kyle Harris 1-0-1-0, Emmit Bach 1-0-0-0, Ivan Loya 2-1-1-1, Brandt Toledo 0-0-0-0, Shane Provost 0-0-0-0, Jackson Wyatt 1-0-0-0, Johan Williams 1-0-0-0, Jake Shaul 3-0-1-0, Brock Riggins 1-0-0-0, Nathanial Lim 2-0-0-0, Alex West 1-0-0-0, Charlie Esson 2-0-0-0. Totals 27-3-7-1. 3B — Yuill. SB — Yuill.
Aces pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Berohn 3-5-1-1-1-4, Sontag 2-2-1-0-0-1, McClanahan 2-0-1-0-2-0.
Boulder Gold pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Toledo 3.1-4-3-2-5-2, Provost 2-0-2-1-5-1, Yuill .2-5-6-5-2-0, Coan .2-0-0-0-0-0.