NIWOT — The Peak to Peak Pumas took advantage of some mistakes in the field by the Niwot Cougars and rode a hot offense late to an 18-2 win for their first victory of the season on Tuesday afternoon.
For first-year Peak to Peak head coach Matthew Castilleja, he wanted to see his team bounce back from their 11-1 loss to University one week ago, especially in the batter's box.
"They looked great today. Discipline speaks," Castilleja said. "We have to get our at-bats in and be disciplined."
Peak to Peak was held to one hit in their season-opening loss to the Bulldogs and struck out 12 times. Against Niwot, they were able to record 10 base hits while maintaining their discipline with 12 walks. Most of the damage came after two scoreless innings to start.
Leading the Pumas was Nathan Poretz with two hits and four RBIs.
"You have to put the ball in play," Poretz said. "We were watching too many pitches. Strikeouts don't do any good. You just have to hit the ball and force them to make plays, and when they don't, you have to take advantage of that. We were able to do that today."
Niwot aided the Peak to Peak offense in the third inning with four errors in the field that helped score five runs in the inning. Poretz extended lead with a two-run home run in the fourth, driving a 3-0 pitch over the fence in left field.
"I hit it pretty good," Poretz said. "I looked up and knew it was gone. It was pretty cool."
Up 8-0 entering the fifth, Peak to Peak made sure to give itself an opportunity to end the game early with a huge offensive inning that featured six hits, four walks and two hit batters, resulting in 10 runs and putting the mercy rule in play.
"We hit pitches where they were pitched," Castilleja said. "We didn't try to pull anything, we just took it the other way and stayed disciplined."
While Peak to Peak was scoring runs in a variety of ways, pitcher Issac Van Tol was shutting down the Niwot lineup through four innings in his start, giving up two hits and four walks while striking out four. Castilleja was also happy to see the pitching bounce back in the win as well.
"We've been working with (Van Tol's) mechanics," Castilleja said. "He's standing taller...he went out and threw a great changeup to keep them off balance."
The win is a welcome sign for a team riding high expectations with a preseason top-10 ranking and an appearance in the state tournament a season ago. To repeat similar success, the Pumas will have to navigate a tough league schedule this spring and ride any early momentum they can get to do so.
"We just take it game-by-game and figure it out from there," Poretz said.
Niwot saw the season open on a tough note Tuesday but ended with a positive as they avoided the shutout with two runs in the final inning. Will Smith drilled a pitch into the gap for an RBI triple and later scored on a fielder's choice from Felipe Castro. They will look to bounce back on Thursday in Longmont versus the Silver Creek Raptors.
Peak to Peak 18, Niwot 2
At Niwot High School
PEAK TO PEAK (1-1) 005 3(10) — 18 10 0
NIWOT (0-1) 000 02 — 2 3 5
W — Peak to Peak Isaac Van Tol (1-0). L — Niwot Micah Sheets (0-1).
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Andrew Bagnato 3-1-1-0, Isaac Van Tol 5-3-0-0, Nathan Poretz 5-3-2-4, Garrett Shriver 5-2-1-0, Haydon Wilcox 5-2-1-2, Kade Gendreau 4-1-0-0, Colton Nelson 4-1-1-1, Dylan Hall 4-1-1-1. 2B —Poretz, Wilcox, Bagnato. 3B —none. HR —Poretz. SB —Van Tol 2, Shriver 2, Wilcox.
Niwot hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Aidan Galloway 3-0-0--0, Micah Sheets 3-0-1-0, Joey Desenfants 3-0-0-0, Will Smith 3-1-1-1, Taylor Goldfarb 3-0-0-0, Felipe Castro 3-0-1-1, Jaryd Meek 1-0-0-0, Nick Yard 2-0-0-0, Clay Kleespies 2-0-0-0. 2B — Sheets. 3B —S mith. HR — none. SB — none.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Isaac Van Tol 4-2-0-0-4-4, Bagnato 1-1-2-2-3-1.
Niwot pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sheets 2.2-2-5-2-1-3, Kleespies 1.1-1-3-2-5-0, Galloway .2-5-10-6-3-0, Smith .1-1-0-0-1-0