LOUISVILLE — Monarch baseball coach Scott Weiss wasn’t even a sparkle in his parents’ eyes when The Shirelles recorded “Mama Said” in 1961, but after Saturday’s 14-3 loss in six innings to Rocky Mountain, he could easily relate to the lyrics “there’ll be days like this.”
“Some days the baseball gods just don’t smile on you,” Weiss understated.
Indeed, nothing went right from the start for Monarch (5-3 overall) in its Front Range League opener. First, the visiting Lobos (4-2) arrived 15 minutes late, setting back the 11 a.m. start to 11:15.
When the teams were ready to go, there were no umpires on hand for a game that originally was scheduled for April 27 but was changed to accommodate Rocky Mountain playing that day at Coors Field. Monarch athletic director Lani Nobles’ phone calls managed to procure two umpires, but the first pitch was rescheduled once again for 12:30, when the wind decided to blow big time.
Minutes prior to the original starting time, Weiss learned that Logan Soole, the scheduled starting pitcher, couldn’t go because of tightness in his left (throwing) shoulder. Weiss turned to Garrit Elzinga, and the junior never got an out. The Lobos jumped on Elzinga out of the gate for seven runs on four hits, aided by two walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch.
“You always have to have a Plan B, and Plan B just didn’t work out too well for us today,” Weiss said. “I have all the confidence in the world in Garrit Elzinga. He’s always been a solid pitcher for us. He needs to pitch ahead in the count a little more than he did today. He’s at his best when he’s nibbling the corners, and today he was catching a little too much of the plate.”
Soole, a sophomore, was 2-1 with a team-best 1.83 earned run average in 2012 and was hoping to rebound from a rough outing on Monarch’s spring-break trip to Arizona. Weiss said this wasn’t the first time Soole’s shoulder has bothered him this season. “It’s always a concern, but he’s had shoulder tightness before and tends to work it out,” Weiss said.
Said Rocky Mountain coach Scott Bullock: “We were looking forward to facing Soole, knowing he’s a very good pitcher. It was tough luck on their part.”
Rocky Mountain, which won four straight state titles from 2007-10 but missed the Championship Series last year with a first-round district loss, showed why it’s one of the favorites in the Front Range League. The Lobos collected 15 hits — including a home run and five doubles — off four Monarch pitchers, and got a solid pitching effort from right-hander Tyler Stevens.
Carl Stajduhar and Cole O’Donnell led the Rocky attack from the 3 and 4 holes. Stajduhar went 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and three RBIs, and O’Donnell went 3 for 4 with two doubles and five RBIs. Stevens contributed two hits and three RBIs, and blanked Monarch on one hit for the first three innings.
“I like our team,” Bullock said. “Last year I felt we were probably a year away. We’ve got a lot of kids with a lot of experience.”
The Coyotes scored all three runs and collected six of their seven hits in the fourth and fifth. Matt Malkin had two hits and Cole Maltese, who was hitting .565, went 1 for 3 with an RBI. Kyle Scholtz had an RBI single in the fourth.
“It’s tough when you’re down 7-0 before you get an out,” Weiss said. “Give a ton of credit to Rocky Mountain. It proves why they’re always a tough team. They’re always going to be a league favorite and they’re always a favorite for the state championship.
“I think our team is every bit as good as they are, but we didn’t play like it today. We just have to learn from it and come back. If we can put it all together we still have the potential for a great season.”
Rocky Mountain 14, Monarch 3
At Monarch H.S.
Rocky Mountain 713 102 — 14 15 1
Monarch 000 210 — 3 7 3
W — Stevens (2-0). L — Elzinga (0-2).
Rocky Mountain hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ibarra 2-2-0-0, Hahn 1-0-0-0, Raber 3-2-1-1, Bachman 1-0-1-0, Stajduhar 5-4-4-3, O’Donnell 4-2-3-5, Haugen 1-0-0-0, Bean 2-2-0-0, Madigan 1-0-0-0, Gamble 2-1-2-1, Richer 2-0-0-0, Stevens 4-1-2-3, Elsheimer 1-0-1-0, Lawson 2-0-1-0, Anderson 2-0-0-1, Thomas 0-0-0-0. Totals 33-14-15-14. 2B — Raber, Stajduhar, O’Donnell 2, Stevens. HR — Stajduhar (one on in sixth).
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Soole 3-0-1-0, Love 1-0-0-0, Stockebrand 1-0-0-0, Maltese 3-1-1-1, Malkin 3-1-2-0, Stork 3-0-0-0, Good 3-0-0-0, Scholtz 2-0-1-1, Ensign 2-0-0-0, Beswick 1-0-0-0, Dunn 1-0-0-0, O’Gara 1-1-1-0. Totals 24-3-7-2.
Rocky Mountain pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Stevens 6-7-3-3-5.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Elzinga 0.0-4-7-7-2-0, Love 2.1 4-4-3-2-2, Stockebrand 1.2-3-1-1-1-0, Light 2-4-2-2-1-2.