LAFAYETTE — The opening day of the Boulder National Invitational Tournament was filled with highs and lows for the NoCo Roughnecks.
The northern Colorado area baseball club split a pair of pool play games at Peak to Peak Charter to start the invitational. In the first, the Roughnecks defeated one of the tournament's host teams in Peak to Peak, 10-6. In the second, the Roughnecks fell behind early and were defeated 10-8 by Batter's Box Blue after rallying for five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning only to leave the bases loaded.
"We were trying to get that one last hit," Roughnecks coach Tom Fobes said. "They gave us a lot of walks to get us in that situation and we just didn't have a very good sense of urgency today. I don't know if we're just mentally tired and, therefore, physically tired, or if there was some other reason we just couldn't get it going today. We always come to this tournament thinking we're going to make it to bracket play and now it's going to be tough at 1-1."
The Roughnecks are made up of high school-aged players from Longmont, Erie, Mead, Frederick, Poudre and Fort Lupton, and played a tournament in Kansas the previous weekend. Possibly still fatigued from the prior tournament and playing in the heat against Batter's Box Blue, they trailed by seven runs to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Down to their final three outs, the Roughnecks loaded the bases with one out in large part due to four walks issued by opposing pitchers in the inning.
Able to rally for five runs in the frame and put the tying runs on second and third with the bases loaded, the Roughnecks couldn't come up with the final hit they needed to tie the game.
Only the top two teams in each of the four pools qualify for bracket play, which Fobes said makes the Roughnecks' 11:30 a.m. game against Premier West Thursday a must-win. Looking back at the late-inning rally that nearly got them through Wednesday with a 2-0 record, Fobes said the Roughnecks need to play more like the team that cobbled together five runs in the last inning than the team that fell behind by seven over the first six.
"What you take away from that is that if we play half as tough and with half the energy we had in that last inning, we'll be in pretty good shape," Fobes said.
The Roughnecks will play Premier West at Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder on Thursday.