From the very first pitch of Friday's baseball game at Scott Carpenter Park to the very last, there wasn't a dull moment between Boulder and Ralston Valley in a 5A nonleague matchup that featured 24 hits and 20 runs.
In the end, it was a case of the Panthers finding a way to win — they're now 6-2 — while the Mustangs have found ways to lose in 2019.
Boulder's 11-9 victory was about as wild as it gets, but ultimately the team has gained the confidence it may need as Front Range League play begins next week.
Against a good-hitting Mustangs squad, the Panthers rallied from deficits of 7-2 and 9-7, and a four-run fourth inning to take the lead was made good by Vincent Sauza's efficient three innings of relief on the mound.
All in all, the Panthers were excited to get the win and more elated at keeping something good rolling.
"It was a big home game with a lot of runs scored, and we know this was a good team and that both of us can hit," said shortstop Jonny Suchor, who reached base all four times he batted Friday while also making a highlight-reel double play in the fourth. "We're 6-2 and we can play with anybody. I really believe that.
"We fought the whole game, even though we had that long inning. Our guys have a lot of heart."
Boulder was playing in-state for the first time since a 2-2 trip to Arizona during spring break last week. In Ralston Valley, Boulder was facing a team that entered Friday with a 4-5 record but with all five losses coming by just a single run.
Dorsey Chatham's opening pitch to Ralston Valley's AJ Jergensen was not exactly the ideal welcome-back — the Mustangs leadoff hitter crushed the ball over the center field fence to make it 1-0 quickly. However, upon appeal it was determined Jergensen missed home plate as he celebrated — certainly a forgivable offense — and that set the tone for the rest of the game when it came to the 'yes, that happened' factor.
Ralston Valley scored seven runs in the second inning before seeing Boulder also bat around in the bottom of the frame and tie things up, a hard foul ball squirted through a hole in the nets along third base and nearly hit a spectator, and the final out of the game was made on a rundown between third base and home plate.
"You take the 'W', because that's all you remember in the end is if they're wins or not," Boulder head coach Jack Taylor said. "We're really happy with that."
The moments between the lines also featured some really good stuff from a Boulder team that is looking to finish in the upper half of the FRL — if not the upper-third.
While Taylor said the starting pitching on the whole this season has seen some problems, the team's relief work has been great. Case in point, Sauza, who came in at the top of the fifth frame, induced five flyouts and a couple ground balls, and got a big strikeout to end the sixth. He had help from Teddy Schoenfeld in center with two tough catches on hard-hit balls, too.
"Vincent made the team and he just wasn't a kid that anyone was talking about, but the two times he's pitched he's just been great," Suchor said. "Throwing strikes, getting outs."
Suchor had a bases-clearing double in the second inning, and Nate Bach, Doug Blankenship and Jackson Woolwine all delivered RBI hits in the four-run fourth.
Offensively, Friday was par for the course for Boulder as it has scored more than 10 runs in five of its eight games. In Colorado, they have wins over Fruita Monument (a 3-2 final), Northglenn (15-1), and Pomona (17-7).
Next up are a pair of Broomfield schools, Tuesday and Thursday against Broomfield and Mountain Range, respectively.
"If we can just keep getting more good at-bats, we're going to give ourself chances to win," Taylor said.
Boulder 11, Ralston Valley 9
At Scott Carpenter Park
Ralston Valley 071 100 0 — 9 12 1
Boulder 250 400 x — 11 12 6
W — Ghiselli. L — Lingk.
Ralston Valley hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jergensen 5-1-2-1, Martinez 4-1-1-1, Jones 4-1-2-1, Adams 3-1-1-2, Wall 5-1-2-1, Phillips 3-2-2-0, hunt 4-0-1-0, Dorrance 2-0-0-0, Lingk 1-0-1-1, Stern 1-0-0-0, Grimm 2-2-0-0. 2B —Jones, Hunt, Jergensen. HR —Jergensen. SB —Adams, Lingk, Martinez.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Pemberton 3-0-0-1, Schoenfeld 3-2-1-0, Suchor 2-3-2-3, Chatham 4-0-1-1, Bach 3-1-1-1, Ghiselli 3-0-2-0, Sauza 1-0-0-0, Wyatt 2-2-1-0, Blankenship 3-0-1-2, Woolwine 3-1-3-1, Pyle 0-1-0-0, Sapper 0-1-0-0. 2B — Suchor, Bach, Blankenship, Wyatt. SB —Suchor, Woolwine.
Ralston Valley pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Wall 1.1-6-7-7-1-3, Lingk 2-4-4-4-4-0, Steiskal 1.2-2-0-0-1-2, Martinez 1-0-0-0-0-0.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Chatham 2-7-7-4-3-5, Ghiselli 2-3-2-2-3-1, Sauza 3-2-0-0-1-1.