ERIE — For openers, Erie seemed to make so many errors that Tigers coach Harold Simmons couldn't keep track.
In dropping an 8-7 decision in Class 4A nonleague to Fort Morgan on an unusually warm, dry and sunny Thursday afternoon in early March, the Tigers were guilty of six miscues, although it seemed like more to their coach, who knew his guys still managed to have more than ample opportunity to come out ahead.
"Yeah, you would think if you made eight errors, you wouldn't have a chance to win the game, but (the Mustangs) left the door open up a little bit," Simmons said as Colorado opened Spring 2017.
When told his team actually committed five errors, Simmons said "whatever ... it was a lot and it felt like 100. To even have a chance to win a game at the end with that kind of play is nice, I guess."
True, the Tigers, who only led once, at 3-2 after three innings, gave back the lead, flirted with coming back, and didn't. They stranded six runners over the final three innings, including having the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. They also had a runner at third base in the sixth with two outs.
But neither happened.
All told, they gave up four unearned runs.
"No excuses, we don't want to make that many errors," Simmons said.
At the plate, Erie banged out 11 hits, three by leadoff Zach Elliston, but they weren't enough against Fort Morgan starter Trevor Shurtleff, who battled for six innings, and reliever Bobby Tolson, who got himself into trouble in the seventh before nailing down the save.
"Oh, yeah, we definitely need to clean up the errors," Elliston said. "We definitely had that game and had our chances."
A final-four team a year ago, Erie's latest version is full of seniors, yet Simmons' roster isn't that experienced — it is welcoming back some juniors who sat behind seniors in 2016.
So the transition is taking place.
"I think as we play together more, we'll find our groove and get our stuff done," Elliston said.
Shurtleff, very-talented junior Trey McBride and Jimmy Keller each had two hits for Fort Morgan.
Ryley Deckert added three hits and three runs batted in for Erie.
Erie will host Mountain View in nonleague on Tuesday, then Holy Family on Thursday to begin Tri-Valley League play.
"We've been pretty solid the last couple of years,"Simmons said. "We have to see what it will look like this year."
FORT MORGAN 8, ERIE 7
Fort Morgan 200 231 0 — 8 10 2
Erie 201 202 0 — 7 11 6
W — Fort MorganShurtleff (1-0). L — Portillo (0-1). S — S - Tolson (1).
Fort Morgan hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Hamer cf 3-1-0-0, Shurtleff p-ss 3-2-2-0, McBride c-rf 4-1-2-1, Kage 3b 3-0-1-0, Holbeck 2b-c 4-2-1-1, Marquez 1b 4-1-1-0, Keller lf 4-0-2-1, Tolson rf-p 3-0-0-0, Linker ss-2b 3-1-1-0. Totals 31-8-10-3.. 2B —McBride, Linker. . SB —Keller.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elliston 2b 4-2-3-1, Mirabassi c 3-1-1-1, Portillo p-ss 4-1-1-1, McLaughlin cr 0-1-0-0, Sackett dh 4-0-1-0, Kelly ss 0-0-0-0, Deckert cf 4-0-3-3, Milner lf 2-0-0-0, Thoren 1b 4-0-0-0, Mayers rf 3-1-1-0, Fiallo 3b 3-1-1-0, Lutgens p 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-7-11-5. 3B —Deckert.