GREELEY — Peak to Peak coach Derek Urban and his boys knew all year long that they were going to be just fine on the mound.
They had a nice 1-2 bunch in Tommy Shriver and Braydon Weyer — and a bevy of quality arms in reserve — that toed the slab for a majority of the Pumas victories that ultimately landed them a spot in their second Class 3A state tournament in three seasons.
They needed the bats to at least back them up. And after a district tournament saw the sticks come alive just in time, Urban was hopeful that it would carry over into the double-elimination tournament in Greeley.
It wasn't to be, and after an opening round win on Tuesday against La Junta, the Pumas bats went silent and were eliminated after back-to-back shutouts against Metro League foes Colorado Academy (10-0 on Tuesday) and Faith Christian 8-0 on Wednesday at Butch Butler Field.
"We haven't scored a run in (16) innings. I said at the beginning of the season that our pitching is going to be there but it is our sticks that are going to take us the furthest," said Urban, whose team caps the season 17-6. "We got really hot in districts, but Mother Nature cooled us off."
And after Shriver and Weyer threw on Tuesday, Urban turned to Max Higdon — whom he knew would give him his best effort.
After getting the first out on the first pitch of the game, the Eagles nickel-and-dimed Higdon for four straight singles that resulted in the first two runs. A fielders choice drove in the third run and, with Faith feeling confident, they got their hardest hit ball of the inning from Cory Ferro, a two-run double to the left field fence.
"If we could have had a different game plan and thrown a lot more off-speed that first inning then I think we would be in a different position right now," Urban said. "We figured it out as a coaching staff and he figured it out on the mound and he did a great job.
"He has been wanting the ball and I told him a few weeks ago that his time was coming."
The Pumas bats were able to create traffic on the basepaths against Eagles starter Michael Thorne, but could never come up with the clutch hit.
Peak to Peak stranded 10 runners in the game, none more painful than in the third after a leadoff triple by Alex Bradfield was squandered. In the bottom of the sixth, possibly squeezing the grips a little tighter, the Pumas had runners at the corners and came away with nothing.
The Pumas will lose quite a few seniors from this team, but have a nucleus in place of players that know what it takes to win and get to the state tournament, and Urban knows they will be hungry.
"The hard part is that we are going to lose some key components to this team and those seniors are huge, and we have some you kids that are going to fill those spots, but we have to learn again," he said. "We have to learn how to get here, what it is like to win and be successful.
"I think we have a chance next year, we have a lot of great kids returning and we are going to go out and play ball."
FAITH CHRISTIAN 8, PEAK TO PEAK 0
At Butch Butler Field
Faith Christian (17-7)500 003 0 — 8 10 1
Peak to Peak (17-6)000 000 0 — 0 8 0
W — Michael Thorne (5-2). L — Max Higdon (3-1).
Faith Christian hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Landon Ford 4-0-0-0, Colin Stone 4-0-3-1, Andrew Houghton 0-2-0-0, John Campisi 3-2-2-0, Tristan Smith 4-1-2-3, Tyler Mattingly 3-1-1-1, Macklin Brockmeyer 3-0-0-0, Michael Gubanich 4-1-1-1, Corey Ferro 4-0-1-2, Michael Thorne 0-0-0-0, Jake Radi 2-0-0-0, Michael Osgood 0-1-0-0. Totals 31-8-10-8. 2B — Ferro, Campisi. 3B — Smith. SB — Osgood.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Alex Bradfield 4-0-2-0, Matthew Bagnato 4-0-1-0, Max Higdon 4-0-1-0, Baylor Weyer 3-0-0-0, Brayden Weyer 3-0-2-0, Finn Larson 2-0-1-0, Mitchell Kerr 2-0-1-0, Isaac Van Tol 0-0-0-0, Niko DeNiro 3-0-0-0, Anthony Colgate 0-0-0-0, Tommy Shriver 3-0-0-0. Totals 28-0-8-0. 2B — Br. Weyer. 3B — Bradfield. SB — Bradfield.
Faith Christian pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Thorne 6.1-6-0-0-3-7, Brockmeyer .2-2-0-0-0-0.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Higdon 5.2-9-8-8-2-0, DeNiro 1.1-1-0-0-0-2.