LONGMONT — Playing four opponents so far that went a combined 21-55 last year, the Mead baseball team would be wise to curb their enthusiasm a bit.
Having outscored those opponents 86-4 in cruising to a 5-0 record, however, certainly sheds some light into what kind of team the Mavericks can be when they are firing on all cylinders.
Starting with a 33-0 lashing of Battle Mountain in its opener, Mead has been consistent in all three phases of the game, and that continued on Saturday with a 14-1 win over rival Frederick that helped complete a Tri-Valley League opening series sweep for MHS.
The Mavericks put up 11 runs in the first inning and never looked back, while Frederick battled and looked much more the team head coach Blaine Shirley expects to be over the final four innings of play.
"It's fun going out on a Saturday morning and giving it our all, and it was just a good team win," said Mead junior Brady Veltien, who mashed three hits and drove in five runs, including a bases-clearing triple in the fourth. "So far, so good. We just have to keep the pedal to the metal and see what happens."
Last year's starting schedule looked very similar for Mead, playing Battle Mountain, Thornton and Pueblo Centennial before opening the TVL with the Warriors. In 2017, Randy Click's first year at the helm, they also went 5-0, while scoring 66 runs and allowing 14, before finishing the year with an 8-11 record.
Click said he likes the offense being productive so far and the defense has helped raise expectations for cleaner innings, too. But the coach also said the pitching has been reliable starting with Brady Carstens and continuing through to Caleb Ayers, Lucas Hale and Nick Jacobs. Carstens is 3-0 already, having shut down the Warriors on Friday with 14 strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Ayers started Saturday solid, and even after having to sit through the bottom of the first — which featured eight Mead hits and a few Frederick miscues — threw two more good innings to get the win. Jacobs and Hale followed with an inning apiece to close the door on the Warriors (1-3).
"We worked a lot in the offseason on our hitting, and it's showing right now," Click said. "The other half of that has been our pitchers being dominant, too. They just haven't let teams back in games. Our pitchers have just been a lot more selfless and willing to trust the defense while still going after the strike zone."
"We had some great guys out on the hill today with Nick, Caleb and Luke coming in and they put us in a great position."
Mead's 11-run first frame wasn't even the biggest of the season — it plated 18 runs in the fifth inning against the Huskies. The hosts had four extra-base hits off FHS starter Brandon Hornby, hits that further created damage because of the defense surrounding him out of the gates.
From the fifth spot in the order, Veltien had two singles that scored runs in the inning and then struck again with a triple in the fourth to put the game away. Brett Boaz also had three hits in the game.
Frederick's lone highlights at the plate came in the third, when Logan Zimmerman and Trevor Hazlett each tripled, but the Warriors were caught looking on third strikes six times.
"We beat ourselves today and our overall baseball sense just isn't quite there yet. But I know we're a better team than what we put out there today," Shirley said, his team with a full week before they can get back on the field for a doubleheader against Holy Family. "We just need them to know they aren't out of it at 14-1. We can come back and play. Be aggressive knowing you have nothing to lose at that point."
Mead 14, Frederick 1
At Mead HS
Frederick001 00 — 1 3 4
Mead(11)00 3x — 14 12 1
W — Caleb Ayers. L — Brandon Hornby.
Frederick hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Trevor Hazlett 3-0-1-0, Cole Hoffman 2-0-0-0, Jacob Green 3-0-0-0, Luke Dunker 2-0-0-0, Tyler Segura 2-0-0-0, Kyle Polanski 2-0-1-0, Brandon Hornby 2-0-0-0, Logan Zimmerman 1-1-1-0, Ryan Bacca 2-0-0-0. 3B —Hazlett, Zimmerman. SB —Green.
Mead hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Greyson Young 4-3-0-0, Brett Boaz 4-3-3-2, Brady Carstens 3-2-1-0, John Edwards 2-2-0-0, Brady Veltien 4-1-3-5, Tanner Liese 1-1-1-1, Nick Jacobs 1-0-0-0, Tyler Derrington 2-1-1-2, Lucas Hale 1-0-0-0, Caleb Ayers 3-0-1-0, Ryan McDaniel 3-1-2-1. 2B — Boaz, Derrington, McDaniel. 3B —Carstens, Veltien. SB —Young, Jacobs.
Frederick pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hornby 0.2-8-11-8-2-1, Segura 2-4-3-0-2-2, Roe 0.1-0-0-0-0-0.
Mead pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Ayers 3-3-1-1-1-5, Jacobs 1 0-0-0-0-1, Hale 1-0-0-0-0-3.