BROOMFIELD — Tanner Thomas was not perfect on Friday afternoon, and in fact the four walks he allowed on the mound could have cost the Broomfield baseball team dearly.
But the Eagles senior definitely scripted a perfect ending against Centaurus on his home field.
Just moments after losing a no-hitter against the Warriors — carrying that feat into the seventh inning before becoming potentially the losing pitcher — Thomas made sure the effort would not be spoiled.
With one on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Thomas whacked a Brody Jones fastball over the left field fence, giving the host Eagles a dramatic 3-2 win that fell in line with many of the battles they’ve been in so far this season.
For Thomas, it wasn’t a goat-to-hero kind of turnaround, but it certainly carried that type of drama.
“I was just trying to get a single, knock my guy in on second … sometimes that happens,” said Thomas, whose six-plus innings on the mound included just one hit and five strikeouts. “It was awesome.”
Thomas eluded trouble a couple times, walking the bases loaded in the fifth inning but managing to escape without allowing a run. That drove his pitch count up, and when Centaurus’ David Neitenbach came through with a leadoff single to start the seventh, head coach Garren Estes pulled Thomas in favor of Eddie Flores.
The Warriors (1-6, 1-3 Northern League) promptly scored two runs on three total hits, and just like that Thomas was facing being saddled with the loss. But baseball is a funny game, and the Eagles (3-4, 3-2) did just enough to get him a chance to do something at the plate.
Alex Eskridge hit into a fielder’s choice, but got to second base on an overthrow, and Kyle Holbrook singled him in to make it 2-1, bringing up Thomas as the possible winning run.
Win it he did. It wasn’t a no-doubt home run, but once it disappeared, Thomas flipped off his helmet and met his teammates for the wild celebration at home plate.
“I believe in these guys, and we worked hard all offseason to get this done. We just have to keep believing in each other,” Thomas said. “Hopefully we can make some more runs in the next couple games.”
“Being pulled out (of the game), he didn’t take it in a negative way … by coming back and having that at-bat he proved his focus,” Estes said. “He was going to do what he had to do to get a team win.
“We left runners on in every inning it seemed like, so it was getting frustrating, but we stayed with it. We proved again that we’re going to go until the end, whether they’ve had a bad game or a great game.”
Estes was close on his estimate, as the Eagles stranded nine runners through six frames. Much of that was Jones working out of trouble with some good spot pitches when it mattered, getting back-to-back strikeouts in the second, fourth and sixth innings to keep runners from scoring from third base.
He finished with nine strikeouts against five walks, another strong effort that has not been rewarded thus far.
“You’ve got to throw strikes sometimes, absolutely, and I just left one over the middle,” said Jones, whose teammates rallied around him in the dugout after the dust had settled. “I think offensively, the game is about making adjustments and our team does not know how to make those adjustments quite yet.”
“We’re just trying to figure out how to win,” said Centaurus assistant coach Cameron Tallman, who took the reins as head coach Aaron Allen is out of town for personal matters. “We got a 2-0 lead and couldn’t finish. Win or lose, we’re proud they bounced back from a seven-run inning the last game we played (a 9-7 loss to Canon City). That’s really all we can ask.”
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Broomfield 3, Centaurus 2
At Broomfield HS
Centaurus 000 000 2 — 2 3 3
Broomfield 000 000 3 — 3 7 2
W — Eddie Flores. L — Brody Jones.
Centaurus hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Eric Gambon 3-0-0-0, Tristen Archuleta 3-0-0-0, Kristian Williams 3-0-0-0, David Neitenbach 3-1-1-0, Justin Angevine 2-1-0-0, Will Finamore 0-0-0-0, Brandon Larson 2-0-0-0, Joe Milano 1-0-0-0, Anthony Losasso 2-0-1-0, Billy Miles 2-0-0-1, Izzy Miles 3-0-1-0. Totals 24-2-3-1.
Broomfield hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Carlos Amador 3-0-1-0, Alex Eskridge 4-1-1-0, Kyle Holbrook 3-1-1-1, Tanner Thomas 4-1-2-2, Josh Williamson 0-0-0-0, Caleb Cox 1-0-0-0, Simeon Combs 0-0-0-0, Brad Hamilton 1-0-1-0, Cole Biesterfeld 1-0-0-0, Preston Riley 1-0-0-0, Carson Willard 2-0-0-0, Nick Carter 1-0-0-0, Troy Brewer 2-0-1-0, Angelo Alvarado 1-0-0-0. Totals 23-3-7-3. HR — Thomas. SB — Holbrook, Williamson, Hamilton, Combs, Brewer.
Centaurus pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jones 6.2-7-3-3-5-9.
Broomfield pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Thomas 6-1-1-1-4-5, Flores 1-2-1-0-0-2.