LOVELAND — Holy Family celebrated its most recent title in traditional baseball fashion — a dog pile at the pitcher mound.
The writhing purple pile of arms and legs in the middle of Greg Brock Field’s infield had plenty of reason to be merry beyond its Northern Baseball League title. Slugging it out for a 9-7 win over Greeley West concluded a solid run through summer, but the victory itself was a reward of sorts.
In a game that was a knock-down, drag-out affair from the first pitch, the Tigers more than proved their mettle.
“We put together a good summer and got hot the past few weeks swinging the bat,” Holy Family shortstop/pitcher Devlin Granberg said. “We just picked up that energy and ran with it today.”
Deep runs in summer baseball have historically spelled big things for Holy Family.
The team has used top-notch play in the dog days as a stepping stone to a strong high school season. And the last time the team walked away from summer-league with a title, the Tigers went on to win their first state championship.
So will next spring mean a repeat of Holy Family’s 2010 season? Only time will tell. But as for the Tigers themselves, they like the direction the team is moving.
“It seems like every time we do something great in the summer it lead to us being good the springtime,” Holy Family coach Nate Hesser said. “So hopefully this leads to something good.”
Granberg is one of those player who has plenty to look forward too, but after Friday, he also has plenty to reflect on. The budding star was the linchpin of the victory.
Granberg made plays in the infield and on the mound, but few would argue over the fact he was at his best with a bat in his hand. He finished the game hitting 4-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs, but he was at his most potent in the sixth.
The incoming junior broke the game Holy Family’s way in the inning, with his two-run double to center field opening the floodgates for his team.
“Something just clicked for us, we started to hit the ball and drive in runs,” Granberg said. “I thought we’d at least get one in the inning, I had no idea we’d get four.”
David Johnson and Kennedy Phillips made it hard on West’s pitching staff, forcing the team’s hand against Granberg. The Tigers’ eight- and-nine hole hitters led off the second, fourth and sixth and were the impetus behind loading the bases for Granberg in all but the final inning.
“We put him in a position to be a hero, we had to pitch to him,” West coach David Falter said. “The kid can hit. We usually don’t let hitters beat us. But when the bases were full in front of him, he hit.”
Granberg also closed the game’s pitching, getting the final two outs, after Nick Kreutzer and Adrian Do each provided three solid innings of work. But it was a tense finish for the Tigers.
West cut Holy Family’s lead by two off a sacrifice fly and error, then moved the tying run to second base. But Granberg finished the evening by recording his only strikeout of the game, getting the batter to chase a pitch that broke low and outside.
“It’s fitting he also got the save,” Falter said. “Because, he single-handedly beat us.”
Holy Family 9, Greeley West 7
At Greg Brock Field
Greeley West 111 200 2 — 7 10 0
Holy Family 210 204 x — 9 9 3
W — Do. L — Monje.
Greeley West hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lorea 3-1-1-0, Juarel 3-1-1-0, Miller 3-1-1-1, Denuuellis 4-1-3-2, Walach 4-1-1-0, Stoffel 2-1-0-1, Marion 4-0-0-0, Bruning 4-1-2-0, Monjel 4-0-1-0. Totals 31-7-10-4. 2B — Juarel, Miller, Walach. 3B — None. HR — None. SB — None.
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tinnon 2-1-0-0, Elliott 3-1-1-1, Granberg 4-2-4-5, Dedin 3-1-1-1, Brown 3-0-1-1, Erb 3-0-0-0, Kreutzer 2-0-0-0, Do 1-0-0-0, Johnson 3-1-1-0, Phillips 2-0-1-0, Atencio 0-3-0-0. Totals 25-9-9-8. 2B — Granberg. 3B — None. HR — Elliott (solo in 1st). SB — Brown.
Greeley West pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Monjel 6-9-8-8-4-7, Marion 2/3-0-0-0-2-1.
Team pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kreutzer 3-5-4-3-2-0, Do 4-4-1-1-0-0, Granberg 2/3-1-1-0-0-1.
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