DENVER — Michael Wegleitner has waited through fall, winter, and already a good chunk of spring, for the chance to come through in a big moment for the Silver Creek baseball team.
On the turf field at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Wegleitner got his first look at a critical moment during the seventh inning of a nonleague game against Thomas Jefferson. So what did he do with it?
The Raptors junior hit a two-run bomb that tied the game and set up a 5-4 walk-off victory for the Silver Creek boys in just their second game of the spring so far.
"It felt pretty good coming off the bat," Wegleitner said. "Our coach preaches always having that competitive aspect so I was going up there looking for something to hit and it turned out well. We were a bit down right there but we know our team and we know that we can compete with anyone so we just gave it our best. It worked out."
The Raptors (2-0) had just watched the Spartans (1-3) score twice to break a tie in the top of the seventh inning, and were three outs away from their first loss under new head coach Brad Steward. They had also allowed four unanswered runs since taking a 2-0 lead in the third inning.
Wegleitner's first career home run brought life back to the dugout with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Up next, Spencer Rich was hit by a pitch and then stole second. With a hit-and-run play on and Rich running, Justin Swenson hit a ground ball through the gap between third and short and Rich easily scored the game-winning run.
"Early on, we were popping a lot of balls up and were trying to overswing," Steward said. "But when we had a little pressure put on us, I thought our guys responded real well to it."
There were plenty of other big moments in the game.
After the Spartans scored a pair of runs to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning, Raptors left fielder Charlie Jackson threw the go-ahead runner out at home plate for the final out of the inning and kept the Spartans from pulling ahead earlier than they did. On the mound, Raptors starter Ryan Suess allowed just one run while striking out five batters over four innings and now has a 1.56 ERA and 12 strikeouts in nine innings on the mound this season.
"I felt pretty confident with my off-speed and breaking stuff, probably more confident than my fastball," Suess said. "But Rex (Olinger) was calling a great game and I trust him pretty much all the time, so it was good."
After having to reschedule two of its first three games, Silver Creek hopes to get in several games next week before traveling to play a pair of out-of-state games in Las Vegas over spring break.
Silver Creek 5, Thomas Jefferson 4
At Metro State
Thomas Jefferson 000 101 2 — 4 8 2
Silver Creek 002 000 3 — 5 7 0
W — Ordway. L — Macias.
Thomas Jefferson hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Macias 3-1-1-0, Gonzalez 4-0-1-2, Bowermaster 3-0-0-0, Habitz 2-1-1-0, Perez 2-0-0-0, T. Hrin 3-0-2-2, K. Hrin 3-1-2-0, Accola 2-0-0-0, Sandoval 3-0-1-0. Totals 26-4-8-4. 2B — T. Hrin. SB — Macias, Habitz.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jackson 3-2-1-0, Wegleitner 4-1-2-2, Rich 3-2-2-0, Swenson 4-0-1-2, Olinger 3-0-1-1, Regan 3-0-0-0, Rich 2-0-0-0, Oster 2-0-0-0, Brown 3-0-0-0, Belcher 0-0-0-0, Vialpando 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-5-7-5. 2B — Olinger, Rich. HR — Wegleitner (1 on in 7th). SB — Rich 2, Jackson.
Thomas Jefferson pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Greenman 4-4-2-2-3-2, Bowermaster 2-1-0-0-0-2, Macias 0.1-2-3-2-0-0.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Suess 4-2-1-1-1-5, Ordway 3-6-3-3-1-1.