LONGMONT — Hey, give Easton Adler some credit. He is Mead’s No. 3 hitter for a reason.
The slender shortstop might not have been the primary candidate to hit Mead’s first home run of the season, but sometimes all you have to do is get it up in the air and let a stiff 30-mph wind take over.
“Yeah, first one, and that ball might have had a little help, but a home run is a home run.” the sophomore said Thursday after the Mavericks’ 6-3 Tri-Valley League win over Erie.
“We came into the game knowing we needed a league win to start out the season. We haven’t really played good the last two games, and this game showed us what we could do offensively as well as defensively.”
Adler’s home run, which sailed over the right-field fence with one out in the fourth inning, had a little more history to it than just the first of the year. It was the first yard-ball hit by a Mead player at their home field … ever.
For that, Adler caught a bit of ribbing from his teammates. But, for the Mavericks, the mood was light after a solid win.
“I don’t think anyone expected it,” said Cody Beaver, who had a two-RBI double and also earned the win on the hill. “That was our first one we’ve ever had here by our guys. It was a big spark.
“I think we’re a good hitting ballclub, and if we just keep our heads in it we can put up runs any time. I think we did a good job of that today.”
Mead (2-3) started out slow but picked up the offense against Erie, scoring four runs in the third before Adler’s blast. The frame started with Austin VanHooker beating out a bunt single and then getting to second on a throwing error, and after two more hits from Griffin Nelson and Hunter Leise, Beaver doubled past a diving BJ Jensen in centerfield to give the Mavs a 4-2 lead.
That came off Erie starter Kyle Leahy, and it turned out to be his final inning. Kody Dotson left one up for Adler and couldn’t get out of the fourth, and Kyle Blount had to come in and limit the damage.
Blount did so effectively, not allowing a hit over the final 2 2/3 innings. But for Erie, playing just its second game of the year, the little mistakes added up. In the fourth and fifth innings, leadoff batters got on base only to be erased on the basepaths with a caught stealing and a pickoff.
“(With) the score 6-2, I don’t know that we have the offense to come back quite yet,” Erie coach Harold Simmons said. “That kind of a lead (for the opponent), it feels like a lot of runs right now.”
Jensen went 2-for-2 for Erie, while Leahy drove in a pair of runs. The Tigers scored early on some walks issued by Beaver, but the Mead pitcher managed to hang in for five innings after his pitch count skyrocketed early.
“I had four too many (walks) … but it feels good to know my teammates have confidence in me to keep going,” Beaver said. “I’ve got to thank them for staying with me.”
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Mead 6, Erie 3
At Mead HS
Erie 110 001 0 — 3 7 3
Mead 004 200 x — 6 8 0
W — Cody Beaver (1-0). L — Leahy (0-1).
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Colton Brink 2-1-0-0, Kyle Blount 3-0-0-0, Caleb Crites 4-1-2-0, Kyle Leahy 2-0-1-2, BJ Jensen 2-1-2-0, Kody Dotson 2-0-0-0, Dylan Brink 3-0-0-0, Zane Begano 3-0-1-1, Josh Crites 3-0-1-0, Trevor Lee 0-0-0-0. Totals 24-3-7-3. 2B —Crites, Leahy. SB —Jensen 2.
Mead hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Austin VanHooker 4-1-1-0, Dillon Buckendorf 2-2-0-0, Easton Adler 3-1-1-2, Kyle Couch 4-0-1-1, Griffin Nelson 1-1-1-1, Hunter Leise 3-1-2-0, Cody Beaver 3-0-1-2, Tyler Rennison 2-0-1-0, Gunner Pickett 3-0-0-0. Totals 25-6-8-6. 2B — Leise, Beaver. HR —Adler (1 on in the fourth).
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Leahy 3-5-4-4-3-3, Dotson 0.2-3-2-1-0-0, Blount 2.1-0-0-0-0-1.
Mead pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Beaver 5-2-2-2-3-2, Pickett 1-3-1-1-0-2, Tyler Rennison 1-1-0-0-1-2.