BOULDER — Coming off of a successful spring break trip to Arizona, the Boulder High baseball team needed a win Saturday to stay on track and improve its record against in-state competition.
Austin Blessing made that as easy as possible for his squad.
The junior pitcher allowed only three hits over the course of 7 shutout innings and enabled the Panthers to secure a 2-0 victory over Prairie View. Blessing recorded five strikeouts and walked none on the afternoon.
“Austin was terrific,” Boulder coach Steve Disbrow said. “That’s what he does. He goes out, he pounds the strike zone and he forces the hitters to put it in play.”
Blessing breezed through the Prairie View lineup over the first three innings without giving up a hit. It wasn’t until the top of the fourth that a Thunderhawk was able to reach base. Caleb Dameron knocked a first-pitch single up the middle to break up the perfect bid, only to be caught stealing on the next pitch.
Meanwhile, Boulder’s bats also came alive in their half of the fourth. Back to back singles by left fielder Loic Guegan and catcher Nate Marcotte got the Panthers going. Guegan then scored on third baseman Tommy Baumgartner’s groundout to second, and Marcotte was later plated on another single by second baseman Francis Lanzano.
Those two runs proved to be all the support Blessing needed, as he continued to work his way through the Prairie View lineup with ease. The hurler faced only 22 batters on the afternoon, one more than the minimum, dealing with them on just 75 pitches.
He didn’t allow a Thunderhawk to reach second base until a balk with two outs in the seventh moved a runner into scoring position. But the pitcher refused to be fazed by the mistake, and induced the next batter to ground out to third, ending the game.
“I felt good,” Blessing said. “I got some rest after our trip to Arizona, so it was good to get back to it.”
Despite his pitcher’s nearly flawless performance, Disbrow still had a reliever warming up at the beginning of the seventh, mostly as a precautionary measure. But Blessing refused to show any signs of fatigue.
“That’s the mentality you have to have,” Blessing said when asked if he thought he might get pulled. “You have to think from the beginning ‘I’m going to go seven.’ If that doesn’t happen, that doesn’t happen. But that’s how you have to look at it.”
A number of players from the Boulder Bison 14U team, a Boulder High feeder team, were on hand for the game. Players from the younger squad accompanied the Panthers out onto the field during the pre-game introductions and remained in the dugout throughout the contest.
“I think its great for (the Bison) to see how the varsity guys do things,” Disbrow said. “It’s great for us to build some relationships with these kids and get to know them because it’s not just one team, it’s a program.”
Boulder 2, Prairie View 0
At Scott Carpenter Park
Boulder (3-4-1, 0-1-0) 000 000 0 — 2 5 0
Prairie View (2-5-0, 1-0-0) 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
W — Blessing (1-0). L — Cardenas (0-1)
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — N. Bukowski 3-0-1-0, Platt 3-0-0-0, L. Bukowski 3-0-0-0, Feigal 3-0-0-0, Gaegan 3-1-2-0, Marcotte 3-1-1-0, Baumgartner 3-0-0-1, Lanzano 2-0-1-1, Denton 1-0-0-0, Garcia 2-0-0-0. Totals 26-2-5-2. SB — Marcotte.
Prairie View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Dameron 3-0-1-0, Cardenas 3-0-0-0, Killen 3-0-1-0, Mueller 1-0-0-0, Moreno 2-0-1-0, Hackney 2-0-0-0, Ringler 2-0-0-0, Davis 1-0-0-0, Coffman 1-0-0-0, Lubick 2-0-0-0, Mecillas 2-0-0-0. Totals 22-0-3-0.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Blessing 7-3-0-0-0-5.
Prairie View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cardenas 6-5-2-2-1-6.