ERIE — Colton Bishop and Taylor Dudley are Erie graduates, but there they were Saturday, pitching and raking away on the Tigers diamond.
Thankfully for those two, Connie Mack baseball rules have more wiggle room than in-season high school ball. That means both Bishop, a 2011 Erie graduate, and Dudley, who graduated last month, are eligible to play on the 18-under Longmont/Erie squad.
Returning to their home field was liberating for each, as Longmont/Erie split a doubleheader with Air Academy. After losing the opener 3-1, Bishop pitched a five-inning shutout in Longmont/Erie’s 10-0 whitewash of the Kadets.
“It was a lot of fun. I missed this place a lot because I had a lot of good times here,” said Bishop, coming off a redshirt season at Oklahoma Christian. “A lot of good memories.”
Bishop hadn’t thrown a shutout on the field since his junior season of 2009-10, but added another memory in his first return trip to the field. He walked zero, struck out five and allowed three singles in improving to 2-0.
Longmont/Erie, composed mostly of current players from those schools as well as Sterling’s Jake Baker, pushed its record to 5-1 in the young summer season.
As for Dudley, or T-Duds as he is dubbed by his teammates, he got things started with a three-run double in the first inning. Dudley also helped his team avert a shutout in the opener with an RBI triple in the seventh. Dudley still hasn’t selected a college, but in the meantime is relishing his opportunity to continue to play at Erie.
“Of course,” Dudley said. “Any time you step on a baseball field it just seems like a dream.”
While Bishop didn’t issue a single free pass, Air Academy pitchers walked 12 batters. Longmont/Erie needed only five hits to post the run-rule victory. Kyler Leroux, who just finished his sophomore season at Longmont, went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
“You play everybody twice, so you want to at least get a split with everybody and sweep when you can,” Longmont/Erie coach Tom Fobes said. “We were a little flat that first game, and their kid was pretty good on the mound, which accentuated our flatness.”
While Air Academy’s roster largely featured players from their Class 4A runner-up squad, opening-game pitcher Kaz Tanaka was not one of them. But he kept Longmont/Erie at bay until Dudley’s RBI triple. Tanaka departed with a 3-1 lead and the tying runs on base with two outs in the seventh, and reliever Billy Shatraw came on to strike out Will Amen to end it.
The second game, though, was all Longmont/Erie, all Bishop.
“I’m really trying to work on my off-speed this summer,” the husky right-hander said. “If you don’t have good off-speed pitches you’re going to get hit, so I’m really working on trying to get my spots squared away.”
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Air Academy 3, Longmont/Erie 1
At Erie H.S.
Air Academy 002 000 1 — 3 5 0
Longmont/Erie 000 000 1 — 1 3 6
W — Tanaka. L — Baker. Sv — Shatraw.
Air Academy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Butler 4-0-0-0, Goldberg 2-2-1-0, Yeager 4-1-1-0, Shatraw 4-0-1-0, Gelb 3-0-1-0, Ensor 3-0-1-0, Cole 3-0-0-0, Giussi 2-0-0-0, Wilborn 3-0-0-0. Totals 28-3-5-0. 2B — Goldberg. SB — Goldberg 2, Yeager.
Longmont/Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Yee 3-0-2-0, Fesmire 3-0-0-0, Crist 2-0-0-0, Lee 3-0-0-0, Baker 2-1-0-0, Dudley 3-0-1-1, Leroux 2-0-0-0, Amen 3-0-0-0, Zamudio 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-1-3-1. 3B — Dudley.
Air Academy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Tanaka 6.2-3-1-1-3-2, Shatraw 0.1-0-0-0-0-1.
Longmont/Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Name 0-0-0-0-0-0.
Longmont/Erie 10, Air Academy 0
At Erie H.S.
Longmont/Erie 330 22 — 10 5 1
Air Academy 000 00 — 0 3 2
W — Bishop. L — Shatraw
Longmont/Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Yee 2-3-0-0, Fesmire 2-2-0-0, Crist 1-1-0-0, Lee 3-2-0-1, Dudley 1-1-1-3, Baker 1-1-1-1, Leroux 3-0-2-3, Amen 3-0-1-1, Sterkel 1-0-0-0, Zamudio 3-0-0-0. Totals 19-10-5-9. 2B — Dudley. SB — Yee, Lee, Dudley, Baker.
Air Academy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Telander 2-0-0-0, Butler 2-0-0-0, Goldberg 2-0-0-0, Giussi 2-0-0-0, Yeager 1-0-0-0, Smith 1-0-1-0, Gelb 2-0-0-0, Ensor 2-0-0-0, Cole 2-0-1-0, Wilborn 1-0-1-0. Totals 17-0-3-0.
Longmont/Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Bishop 5-3-0-0-0-5.
Air Academy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Shatraw 1-1-3-2-4-2, Giussi 3-3-5-2-5-3, Ensor 1-1-2-2-3-0.