LONGMONT — The Silver Creek baseball team entered the season with plenty of youth and inexperience at the varsity level.
But Saturday’s loss, more than youthful mistakes, boiled down largely just to missed opportunities.
The Raptors stranded nine base runners, including five in scoring position, on the way to a 7-4 home defeat at the hands of Greeley Central.
“Every runner we get this year is like gold, and we’ve got to take care of them … and bring them home,” Silver Creek coach Trevor Platt said. “They’re at a premium right now.”
The struggling Raptors dropped their ninth straight to fall to 1-10 on the season and 1-5 in Northern League play.
Run production has been a major Achilles’ heel for SCHS, which has been shut out four times this season and entered Saturday averaging just 3.4 runs per game. The latest loss came two days after the Raptors saw a strong complete-game outing by pitcher Brock Ricks negated by dormant bats in a 3-0 defeat to GCHS in Greeley.
“We’re not jumping on pitches we should,” SCHS senior Joey Stauss said. “We’re watching a lot of strikes go by. We’re just not putting the ball in play like we should.”
Stauss turned in a solid start on the mound for SCHS, allowing three runs in 42/3 innings. But although the Raptors led 4-3 entering the sixth inning, their own attempts at a rally fell short after Greeley Central scored three runs off reliever Capper Newton and another off Robbie Allan.
With a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the sixth with the game tied 4-4, a strikeout and groundout ended the SCHS threat. When Stauss and Kellen Wenande each walked to start the bottom of the seventh trailing 7-4, the Raptors proceeded to go strikeout, strikeout, popout to end the game.
Stauss went 2 for 3 with a run scored, and Zach Brown went 2 for 4 with a run and a two-RBI double that gave the Raptors their 4-3 lead. But with Greeley Central banging out 10 hits, including five doubles by five different players, the SCHS efforts fell short.
“They came out and played hard to the end,” Stauss said of the visiting Tigers (3-6, 3-3). “I’m not taking anything away from them. I just feel like, from a player’s standpoint, we should have won both of those games.”
Part of that frustration stems from the fact that things only get tougher from here for the Raptors. Only three Northern League teams earn automatic bids to the postseason, and the Raptors’ final eight games come in doubleheaders against Mountain View, Niwot, Longmont and Broomfield.
“We talk about getting better every day,” Platt said. “That’s what we’re focused on right now.”
Follow Josh on Twitter: @JoshLindenstein
Greeley Central 7, Silver Creek 4
At Silver Creek HS
Greeley Central 000 121 3 — 7 10 1
Silver Creek 020 020 0 — 4 8 3
W — Lopez. L — Newton (0-2). S — Lechman.
Greeley Central hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lechman 4-1-2-0, Pisano 4-1-3-1, Smythe 3-0-1-1, Agens 0-2-0-0, Lopez 1-0-1-0, Rivas 0-1-0-0, Trego 3-0-1-1, Gayette 3-0-0-0, Gray 2-1-1-0, DeLaRosa 3-0-1-1, Loma 4-0-0-0. Totals 27-6-10-5. 2B — Lechman, Smythe, Lopez, Gray, DeLaRosa. 3B — Pisano.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Metcalf 4-0-1-1, Barth 4-0-1-0, Stauss 3-1-2-0, Deckert 0-0-0-0, Wenande 2-0-1-0, Siedem 0-1-0-0, Apodaca 3-0-0-0, Newton 0-0-0-0, Brown 4-1-2-2, Ricks 4-1-1-0, Ludwig 2-0-0-0, Grine 2-0-0-0, Allan 0-0-0-0, Totals 28-4-8-3.
Greeley Central pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Smythe 5-8-4-2-1-3, Lopez 1-0-0-0-1-1, Lechman 1-0-0-0-2-2.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Stauss 4.2-5-3-3-2-3, Newton 1.1-5-3-3-0-0, Allan 0.1-0-1-1-2-0, Barth 0.2-0-0-0-0-0. HB — Stauss 2, Allan.