BOULDER -- While the beer was flowing at Scott Carpenter Park on Friday night for the first Boulder Collegians beer festival, baseballs were also hopping all around the field in a wild opener to a crucial Rocky Mountain Baseball League doubleheader against the Colorado Sox.
Needing a win to keep up in the top half of the RMBL standings, Boulder provided a large hometown crowd with yet another late-inning show of fireworks, this time getting a walk-off, 11-10 victory when leadoff hitter Brett Erickson slapped a solid single up the middle of the field to score Dawson Pomeroy in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Now 8-5 in the RMBL, coach Eddie Toledo said the team realizes the importance of each game as the league schedule whittles down to the final two weeks. The league hosts a tournament, as well, and both the league regular season champion and the tournament champion will earn a bid into the National Baseball Congress World Series in August.
"I think the key was actually getting hits with runners on base, and that's something we just haven't done in the last four ball games, really," Toledo said after the game, which featured 28 combined hits. "We have to build some momentum so that we can get into that league tournament with the mindset that we can win it and get to that NBC tournament. That's the goal."
Erickson got his chance to play hero with two outs, after pinch hitter Pomeroy -- who was to start in game two on the mound -- reached on a throwing error by the Sox third baseman and made it to second base on the gaffe. Erickson swung swiftly and solidly right through the hole at second, and the centerfielder could not get a throw home.
"Right there, it was just about being on time and not being out in front where I could pop it up," said Erickson, who drove in three runs altogether. "I just got loaded early and threw my hands at it.
"The dugout was good today, whether we were down four in the first inning ... we kept battling, stuck together, and that's the thing about baseball. You come out and play every day, whether you've lost three of four or have won four of four. You come out and do your best."
The Collegians are sore, injured and had been reeling a bit with another stretch of three losses in four games, but they brought out the best Friday by initially rallying from a 4-0 first inning deficit and then again fighting back from being down 7-5 in the fourth frame. Erickson's game-winning hit was part of a four-hit night from the Barton Community College product, and Brett Bonar (Barton CC) also drove in five runs with his three hits.
The Collegians moved to 19-7 overall, but the league standings are of prime concern for Toledo.
"We have a lot of aches and pains right now," Toledo said. "Hopefully some of those other teams will beat each other up while we get some rest. Right now, looking at third or fourth place right now, it's a long shot to win the league but we can still build momentum."
The Collegians had four extra-base hits in what was a nice bounceback from a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Sterling Express on Thursday at home.
They will not play a league game again until Wednesday night, a July 4 doubleheader against the RoughRiders that is expected to provide another opportunity for fans to embrace the baseball and other activities.