LOUISVILLE — Eric Love’s outing on the mound was uplifting for the Monarch baseball team Thursday, but the Coyotes certainly weren’t all smiles afterwards.
Love’s complete-game performance spearheaded Monarch’s 6-4 Front Range League home win against Poudre, but an early ejection to shortstop Kyle Scholtz put a damper on things. Scholtz, who was ruled to have thrown an intentional elbow at a baserunner, also will have to miss the Coyotes’ rivalry matchup at No. 7 Fairview on Saturday.
“It was not a hostile act,” Monarch coach Scott Weiss said. “I know I’m not supposed to say anything, but I think it was poor umpiring.”
Scholtz was making his first return to the diamond since colliding with teammate Logan Soole in the season opener and enduring a patella injury. He produced an RBI single in the first inning prior to the controversial third, when he fielded a low throw from the outfield as Poudre’s Austin Brost slid in to second.
The ball caromed away as both players went to the ground, and the home-plate umpire quickly ejected Scholtz, saying he threw a blatant elbow. Weiss didn’t see it that way.
“They were kind of tangled up and the ball kicked away,” Weiss said. “Kyle’s trying to get up and everyone was a little off-balance. How he makes the call from home plate that he threw an elbow there, kick out our shortstop and one of our best hitters out of the Fairview game, I thought it was a poor call.
“It hurts our team for Saturday.”
To the credit of the Coyotes (5-3, 2-0), they are not going to use Scholtz’s absence as a crutch.
“It’s a tough call, but nothing you can do about it,” said center fielder Gerrit Elzinga, who went 3 for 3 with two RBIs. “He was fiery before the game and looking forward to playing, so it’s unfortunate. But we’ll fill his position.”
With the Coyotes aiming to save their primary arms — namely Soole and Elzinga — for Fairview, Love’s outing was precisely what Monarch needed. He struck out seven and permitted only two earned runs.
After allowing two batters to reach with one out in the sixth, Weiss made a trip to the mound. Love recovered and finished the game by retiring the final five in order.
“He just asked me if I wanted the ball, and I wanted the ball,” Love said. “I knew my defense was behind me.”
Poudre (3-6, 0-2) scored three runs in the fateful third with the Coyotes perhaps a bit shaken from the ejection, and the Impalas tacked on another in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. That’s when Monarch put together the deciding rally against pitcher Tanner Schoeninger.
Elzinga’s two-run single knotted it 4-4, then Zach Sattler followed with a sacrifice fly and Soole added an RBI infield hit to make it 6-4. It was all Love from there.
“It was the best I’ve seen Eric Love pitch — on the mound, mentally, everything,” Weiss said. “I’ve always seen the potential in him, and today was one of those days where I saw him put it together the way we’d talked about all offseason.”
Love, who also spends time at third base for the Coyotes, was modest about his effort.
“Defense helped out a lot today,” Love said. “We got a lot of groundballs late in the game and they were turning two. It was basically a defensive game.”
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Monarch 6, Poudre 4
At Monarch H.S.
Poudre 003 100 0 — 4 9 0
Monarch 200 400 X — 6 12 1
W —Love (1-0). L — Schoeninger (0-3).
Poudre hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Meyer 4-0-1-0, Boyt 4-1-1-0, Brost 3-1-1-1, Lee 3-0-0-0, Schoeninger 3-0-2-0, Belk 2-1-1-0, D’Antonio 3-0-1-0, Kincaid 3-0-2-1, Bartlett 2-1-0-0. Totals 27-4-9-2. 2B —Brost.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elzinga 3-1-3-2, Sattler 3-1-1-1, Scholtz 1-1-1-1, Jacobs 0-0-0-0, Soole 2-0-1-1, Malkin 4-0-1-0, Crouse 2-0-1-1, DeBord 3-0-0-0, Tully 2-1-2-0, Fudale 3-1-2-0, Wingert 3-1-0-0. Totals 26-6-12-6.. 2B — Crouse. SB —Sattler, Fudale.
Poudre pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Schoeninger 6-12-6-6-6-7.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Love 7-9-4-2-2-7.