Baseball: Longmont Twins earn wildcard berth to Boulder NIT quarters

BOULDER — Chalk this one up as a pitchers duel.

Both starters for the Longmont Twins and Team Colorado-Eaton possessed great stuff, but Eaton starter Nick Silva was a little more suffocating, leading his team to a 3-0 pool-clinching win and a berth in the Boulder National Invitational Tournament quarterfinals.

Not all was lost for the Twins, however. The local squad squeaked into Saturday’s quarters as the lone wild card by virtue of being the second-place team from pool play that had allowed the fewest runs.

The Twins will face Diamond Club in the quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Scott Carpenter Park.

But Friday’s loss was a tough one for the Twins to swallow nonetheless, especially since starting pitcher Dylan Pollock tossed a gem. Pollock stumbled out of the gate, giving up two runs in the first inning, but he buckled down by striking out nine batters and walking only two over six innings of work.

“I didn’t really have my fastball today,” he said. “I realized that after the first, because I wasn’t locating my pitches. So I just had to keep them off balance more with the curveball and changeup.”

Pollock said he didn’t think the loss had any extra sting considering how he performed on the mound.

“A loss is always a loss,” he said. “I take them hard. Any type of loss.”

The two runs Team Colorado-Eaton scored in the first turned out to be all Silva needed. The right-hander pitched all seven innings for the complete game shutout, allowing only three hits in the process.

Twins catcher Jaron Balman was one of the few who momentarily solved Silva, smashing a ball over the right fielder’s head for a double.

“I wasn’t getting many fastballs today so in my second at-bat I just knew I had to capitalize,” he said. “It was a first pitch fastball inside so I took advantage of it.”

But like many of the breaks that weren’t falling in the Twins’ favor, Balman attempted to stretch the hit into a triple and was thrown out at third base as a result of a razor sharp relay.

“I’m not the fastest guy in the world,” he said. “I kind of stuttered at second, but my coach was still sending me so I tried pushing it out. They just must’ve made a good relay and got me.”

And that’s how it went for Longmont. Any time it looked like they were making things happen on offense, Team Colorado-Eaton shut them down.

Longmont Twins coach Colt Sedbrook said he expected Silva to be good.

“He’s a guy that’s going on to Division-II ranks,” Sedbrook said. “He did a great job of keeping us off balance.”

Team Colorado-Eaton 3, Longmont Twins 0

At Fairview H.S.

Team Colorado-Eaton 200 000 1 — 3 6 1

Longmont Twins 000 000 0 — 0 3 0

W — Silva. L — Pollock.

Team Colorado-Eaton hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Soicher 3-1-0-0, Smeeton 2-0-1-1, Wyss 4-1-1-0, Baeckel 2-0-1-0, Mackay 3-0-1-2, Rousselle 3-0-1-0. Smith 3-1-1-0, Johnson 2-0-0-0, Porreco 0-0-0-0, Sauer 2-0-0-0, Marquardt 0-0-0-0, Totals 24-3-6-3. 2B — Wyss.

Longmont Twins hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kramer 3-0-0-0, Reynolds 3-0-1-0, Balman 3-0-1-0, Mau 3-0-0-0, Stauss 3-0-0-0, Moroyoqui 3-0-0-0, Grinde 2-0-0-0, Pollock 2-0-0-0, Martien 2-0-1-0. Totals 24-0-3-0. 2B — Balman. SB — Mau.

Team Colorado-Eaton pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Silva 7-3-0-0-0-4.

Team pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Pollock 6-3-2-2-2-9. Moore 1-3-1-1-1-1.