LONGMONT — Serving as the team’s closer for much of this season, fans of the Mead baseball team have become accustomed to watching Tyler Rennison shut down the opposing team’s hitters at the end of a game to secure a victory.
While the senior did indeed do just that on Saturday against Skyline, this particular outing was a bit different than most. Rather than taking the mound late in the contest, Rennison was handed the ball from the outset.
Having not been able to provide the hurler with an opportunity to close in recent games, Mead manager Wes Sells decided to give Rennison a shot at starting on the hill. And as it turns out, the pitcher’s effectiveness can indeed be extrapolated over the course of an entire game, as he held the Falcons to just two hits in a 5-0 win at home.
“The one thing with Tyler is … he’s a guy that comes in and throws strikes,” Sells said. “And today he did that. A lot of first-pitch strikes, a lot of ground balls, and we really needed it today because we’ve struggled on the mound (lately).
“He’s normally our closer, but he came out and threw strikes and did a great job.”
Rennison was dominant throughout, displaying a mastery of the strike zone by striking out five while walking no one. He faced just two more than the minimum number of batters for the day while earning the complete-game win, and SHS was able to reach base only four times, two via errors.
Skyline (8-3, 6-2) also never advanced a runner past second, getting to that bag just once back in the first inning.
“I just threw strikes and let the defense do the work,” Rennison said. “For the most part, our defense did do the work.”
The Maverick was able to do much of his pitching sans pressure thanks to the comfortable lead Mead built early. MHS loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first against Skyline’s Thomas Hoog. Hoog was able to catch cleanup hitter Hunter Leise looking for the first out, but the Falcons did not escape the frame unscathed.
Batting fifth, Rennison sent a grounder to short which had the potential to be turned into a double play. But after getting the force at second Skyline was unable to turn two in time, as Rennison beat the throw to first, allowing a run to score.
Though Mead’s Easton Adler was called out at second on the play, there seemed to be some confusion on the infield following the toss to first. Adler remained at the base, unsure of the call, distracting Skyline. With the defense attempting to figure out the situation, Maverick Cody Beaver alertly advanced home from third to make it 2-0.
The Mavs struck again again in the third, loading the bases with no outs against reliever Christian Mendivil. Gunner Pickett sent a grounder to second, which Skyline again attempted to turn into two outs. SHS got the runner at second but sent an errant throw to first, allowing another run to come across and making the score 4-0.
Two base hits to begin fifth gave the Mavs another run and chased Mendivil from the game. After a leadoff single by Austin Van Hooker, Beaver stepped to the plate. The senior fought off several two-strike pitches before singling to bring in Van Hooker and make it 5-0.
The dire situation forced Skyline to go to Garrett Angstead, who came in to retire the next nine hitters he faced. But by that point the damage had already been done, as the Mavs had provided Rennison with more than enough insurance at his disposal.
With Skyline having received votes in the latest AP state baseball poll, the win represents perhaps the biggest victory for the Mavs this season under their first-year manager. And after dropping Thursday’s contest at SHS, a 3-2 game which Sells felt his team should have won, taking the rematch was particularly satisfying.
“Obviously it’s good, any win in this conference is good,” he said. “I think we pretty much gave away a game against them on Thursday … Skyline is second in our league, so obviously it’s a big win for us and we needed this one.”
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Mead 5, Skyline 0
At Mead H.S.
Skyline 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Mead 202 100 x — 5 6 2
W — Rennison. L — Hoog.
Skyline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Angstead 3-0-1-0, Hamby 3-0-0-0, Reigle 3-0-0-0, Brenneman 3-0-1-0, Hoog 2-0-0-0, Mendivil 1-0-0-0, Forsyth 2-0-0-0, Soriano 2-0-0-0, Pair 2-0-0-0, Danile 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-0-2-0. SB — Reigle.
Mead hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Van Hooker 3-2-1-0, Beaver 4-1-2-1, Adler 1-1-0-0, Leise 3-1-1-0, Rennison 2-0-0-2, Pickett 3-0-0-1, Romanowski 2-0-1-0, Levine 3-0-0-0, Buckendorf 3-0-1-0. Totals 24-5-6-4. SB — Leise, Adler, Van Hooker.
Skyline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hoog 2-2-3-3-3-1, Mendivil 1-4-2-1-1-0, Angstead 3-0-0-0-0-0.
Mead pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Rennison 7-2-0-0-0-5.