LOUISVILLE — On Friday afternoon, the Monarch Coyotes were on top of the world, and rightfully so.
The had just blanked Broomfield 6-0, giving them the chance to control their own playoff destiny beginning on Saturday against a Poudre team that was near the bottom of the Front Range League.
But baseball can be a silly game, as witnessed by the seven-run, error-plagued second inning the visiting Impalas threw up on the Coyotes on Saturday.
Monarch rallied from the early 7-1 hole to tie the game up in the fourth, only to give up three in the top of the seventh with two outs, to lose 10-7.
"We set ourselves up for everything we wanted to do. Win the league and host districts and we just handed it to them," said Monarch coach Scott Weiss, who at the time was unaware of all the other Front Range League scenarios playing out on the afternoon.
Monarch dropped to 11-5-1 overall and 7-3 in the league, but by virtue of Rocky Mountain's loss to Mountain Range and Legacy 6-3 victory over Broomfield, remained in a three-way tie for the top spot with one week to play. The Coyotes will play Fairview and Fossil Ridge next week and own the tiebreakers against both Rocky and Legacy.
"Obviously we hit the reset button because we have the rest of the season to look forward to," Weiss said.
"Here we are in control of our own destiny again and hopefully we handle it better than we did today. Great teams that control their destiny, close the deal. Hopefully we learn from this."
After back-to-back bases loaded walks in the top of the second by starter Ben Kowalski and the Matt Garcia and then a passed ball put Poudre up 3-1 in the second, Jesse Martinez singled in two more runs with a base hit to left. In all, the Impalas would send 11 men to the plate in their seven run inning.
But the Coyotes clawed back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame, including a two-run single from Jake Given that scored CJ Schmanski and Kowalski.
Junior southpaw Zach Given, who came in for Garcia to mercifully end the second, put up four straight zeroes to help keep his team in the game and the offense helped him out by getting back to 7-7 in the fourth on Ben Cole's single to right that scored Luke Martin.
"After they clawed back, I think they took it for granted that we were going to win," Weiss said. "The bats shut down and we had the third strike in the seventh inning, but a passed ball and three runs with two outs.
"That's been our Achilles heel all season. It's how we lost to Mountain Range, it's how we lost to Boulder and in our four losses we've given up 17 runs with two outs."
In the seventh, Given stuck out Ben Sterkel for what appeared to be the third out, but the pitch got by the catcher and Sterkel went to first to extend the inning.
Garrett Ramler then singled to put runners at first and second, then a Given balk moved them up a station. Sergio Tarango then delivered the big blow with a two run single to right.
Tarango then came in to pitch in the bottom of the seventh and struck out Leash to end it.
"If we go out and jump out to a lead, the will lay over for us, but when you give them seven runs you make them believe they are going to win," said Weiss, whose team will play at Fairview on Tuesday and host Fossil Ridge on Thursday. "We let them be in the game and that's on us."
POUDRE 10, MONARCH 7
Poudre (4-6, 6-11)070 000 3 — 10 11 2
Monarch (11-5-1, 7-3)131 200 0 — 7 9 2
W — Bingham. L — Given.
Poudre hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tarango 4-2-2-3, Martinez 5-1-3-2, Pettofrezzo 5-0-3-1, McFadden 3-0-0-0, Satterfield 2-0-0-0, Clarkin 4-1-0-0, McKinney 4-1-1-0, Sterkel 4-2-1-0, Spaeth 2-1-0-0, Ramler 1-1-1-0, Grogan 0-1-0-0. Totals 34-10-11-7. 2B — Martinez. SB —Grogan.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kowalski 3-2-1-1, Given 4-1-2-2, Martin 4-1-3-1, Hartojo 4-0-0-0, Cole 3-1-2-1, Coatney 2-0-0-0, Morris 4-0-0-1, Leash 4-0-1-0, Schmanski 2-1-0-0, Zeile 0-1-0-0. 2B — Kowalski, Cole. SB —Kowalski.
Poudre pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — McFadden 4-8-7-5-3-1, Bingham 2-1-0-0-1-2, Tarango 1-0-0-0-1-2.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kowalski 1+-2-4-3-2-0, Garcia 0-2-3-2-2-0, Given 5.2-6-3-3-2-8.