ARVADA — The margin for error is pretty small in Class 3A baseball if you want to host a district tournament. For the Peak to Peak baseball team, their chances took a pretty big hit on Saturday afternoon.
A doubleheader at Faith Christian's Ralph Nance Field gave the Pumas the opportunity to get ahead in the Metro League standings, but in head coach Derek Urban's eyes was also the bigger-picture scenario of hosting playoff games.
The scorching-hot Eagles didn't play nice, however, sweeping the two games on their home field with 8-1 and 11-7 victories that kept them in line for the league title. The second game of the day featured 16 hits for Peak to Peak (11-4 overall, 8-3 league) but it wasn't enough against an FCA team that had scored 20 or more runs in its past three games.
"These two losses here, they hurt us most in RPI ... I'm just not sure how far we'll fall with that," Urban said after a frustrating end to the afternoon. "We didn't show up to play today, and I just don't think we made a lot of great defensive plays to support our pitchers.
"We talked the past couple days to them after practice, we said defense is what will win these games and we even missed some routine plays. And I've never seen so many kids fight off 0-2 and 1-2 pitches in the count. Tip your hat to (Faith) for battling enough at the plate to get some hits at the right times."
Peak to Peak was able to get some clutch hits early in each game but could not hold up in all three phases. In the first contest, hitting Faith's Macklin Brockmeyer, a junior, proved difficult as the Pumas mustered just three base hits and struck out 10 times. Their lone run came across in the first inning on a Nathan Poretz single.
The Pumas rebounded to put together a few good innings at the plate facing another FCA junior, Michael Thorne, in game two. Matt Bagnato's two-run single in the second inning, and another run-scoring base hit from Brandon Alvarez, made it 5-2 Pumas and things were looking pretty good.
But the Eagles (14-1, 9-0) came back in the third inning and took advantage of five straight base hits — certainly but a couple hard-hit — and a walk to chase starter Baylor Weyer. Garrett Shriver came in and immediately had to battle catcher and No. 2-hole hitter Colin Stone, and his triple helped Faith build a 8-5 lead.
The Pumas made it 8-7 in the fourth with RBI's from Max Higdon and Weyer, but Faith came back with three runs in the sixth inning using three Pumas errors to create another cushion.
Needing a rally in the bottom of the seventh, the Pumas were picked off at first base after a lead single, and then had the game come to an abrupt end when Riley Feddema was called for runner interference as he slid into second base.
Feddema, in the ninth spot in the order, went 3-for-3 in game two. Alvarez also had three hits and scored twice in the loss.
"We make it to districts, that's really all we care about, in all honestly. If we win a league title one of these days, it's icing on the cake," Urban said. "I'm really happy that we're getting some of these stronger teams at the end of the season. We expect to be in playoffs, so we will get the chance to see playoff teams the rest of the way to prepare us."
Peak to Peak plays at Colorado Academy to wrap up league play on Tuesday, and then will play two different non-league teams (Middle Park, Sterling) next Saturday at home.
Faith Christian 8, Peak to Peak 1
At Faith Christian
Peak to Peak100 000 0 — 1 3 1
Faith Christian230 030 x — 8 11 2
W — Brockmeyer. L — Higdon.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Matt Bagnato 3-1-1-0, Brandon Alvarez 3-0-0-0, Max Higdon 1-0-0-0, Baylor Weyer 3-0-0-0, Nathan Poretz 3-0-1-1, Garrett Shriver 3-0-1-0, Niko DeNiro 2-0-0-0, Andrew Bagnato 1-0-0-0, Isaac Van Tol 2-0-0-0, Riley Feddema 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-1-3-1. SB —M. Bagnato.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Higdon 2.2-9-5-4-2-1, Alvarez 1.2-1-3-3-2-1, Van Tol 1.2-1-0-0-1-1.
Faith Christian 11, Peak to Peak 7
At Faith Christian
Faith Christian 116 003 0 — 11 11 1
Peak to Peak230 200 0 — 7 16 4
W — Thorne. L — Weyer.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — M. Bagnato 5-2-2-2, Alvarez 4-2-3-2, Higdon 4-0-1-1, Weyer 4-0-1-2, Poretz 4-0-2-0, Shriver 4-0-2-0, Van Tol 3-1-1-0, A. Bagnato 2-1-0-0 Wilcox 1-0-1-0, Feddema 3-1-3-0, Nelson 0-0-0-0. 2B — Poretz. 3B —M. Bagnato. SB —Alvarez, M. Bagnato, Shriver.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Weyer 2.2-6-7-2-4-3.