LONGMONT — After deciding to field a Legion A summer squad for the first time in roughly a decade, Silver Creek head baseball coach Mike Apodaca and his top lieutenant for the summer, Ryan Hewitt, were more than ready to trade results for developmental progress with a young group of Raptors players.
In that regard, the endeavor has been a success.
Despite a 10-7 loss against visiting Poudre at home Friday evening, Silver Creek displayed the sort of characteristics — such as timely hitting, solid relief work, and a knack for rallying in the face of an early deficit — that have grown steadily more reliable over the past month and a half.
"It's been 100 times better than we could have expected," Hewitt said. "We really didn't know what we were going to get at the beginning in terms of which players were going to stick around and play with us. And then on top of that, the commitment level with guys going out of town. We didn't know what we were going to get.
"But it's been a great summer all the way through all of our levels. All of our coaches have put in a ton of time at each level. We're hoping that feeds into the players. I think Mike would agree that this summer we couldn't have asked for anything better."
Of course, a win on Friday would have brightened Hewitt's perspective somewhat. Silver Creek's defense was mostly sound throughout — the squad executed an extended rundown in the first inning, threw out a Poudre runner trying to stretch a single in the fifth, and turned a slick inning-ending double-play that prevented a disastrous second inning from getting even worse. However, Poudre scored nine of its 10 runs in the second and fourth frames, and both rallies were bolstered by critical Silver Creek errors.
"We failed to make the routine plays," Hewitt said "When you do that at the high school level, it can hurt you pretty bad. We're not a team that can just go out and individually beat another team. We have to do it collectively."
It was a promising start for Silver Creek, which jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first after leadoff hitter Junior Ramirez doubled and was driven home on a single by Cole Borrego. Borrego eventually came home on an RBI groundout by Lukas Bush.
But Poudre was able to answer with four in the second, taking a lead it would never relinquish on five singles and a Silver Creek error. The visitors blew it open with five runs in the fifth, taking advantage of another Raptors error before catcher James Belk delivered a bases-loaded triple that drove in three and helped stake Poudre to a 9-3 lead.
Solid relief pitching from Tanner Olinger and Bush allowed Silver Creek to chip away, getting within 9-7 in the sixth on an RBI single from Cade Cole, who finished 4 for 4. Poudre, though, tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh before escaping with the win.
"It was a lot of the little things that hurt us, and they were able to build momentum off of that," Bush said. "We fought back though. We were definitely able to battle with them and we were able to fight back. There weren't too many bad things we did, but they were able to take advantage of the little mistakes."
The Raptors host a doubleheader on Saturday morning against Mountain View and Greeley West that begins at 10 a.m.
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Poudre 10, Silver Creek Legion A 7
At Silver Creek HS
Poudre 040 500 1 — 10 14 3
Silver Creek 210 013 0 — 7 8 2
W — Caleb Massey. L — Caleb Martinez. Sv — Jackson Infante.
Poudre hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tristan Kincaid 4-1-2-2, Jackson Infante 2-1-0-1, Kellen Kirkwood 1-0-0-0, Caden Boyt 3-0-1-0, Brendan Kelley 2-2-1-0, James Belk 3-0-2-3, Troy McFadden 3-1-3-2, Jake Clouse 1-0-0-0, JT Erickson 2-1-1-0, Sam Roth 1-0-0-0, Zack Schlagel 3-2-0-0, Keaton Bartlett 2-1-2-0, Ryan Clarkin 4-1-1-1, Austin Bryant 2-0-1-0. Totals 33-10-14-9. 2B — Bryant. 3B — Belk. SB — Kelley, McFadden.
Silver Creek A hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Junior Ramirez 5-1-1-1, Cole Borrego 4-2-1-1, Dylan Kramer 3-1-0-0, Lukas Bush 1-0-0-2, Cade Cole 4-0-4-2, Adam Wager 4-0-0-0, Wes Gregory 2-1-1-0, Nick Hartman 2-1-0-0, Colten Goldfarb 3-0-1-0, Sam Elting 1-0-0-0, Nick Gambirasi 1-0-0-0, Dylan Ordway 0-1-0-0. Totals 30-7-8-6. 2B — Ramirez. SB — Borrego.
Poudre pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caleb Massey 4.2-6-4-4-3-1; Zack Schlagel 1-1-3-0-2-1; Jackson Infante 1.1-1-0-0-0-1.
Silver Creek A pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caleb Martinez 4-11-9-7-1-3; Tanner Olinger 2+-2-1-1-1-2; Lukas Bush 1-1-0-0-1-1.