BROOMFIELD — The camouflage jerseys didn’t hide the fact there were two stout baseball teams out on the Broomfield diamond on Saturday.
That said, you rarely see such a happenstance ending as what occurred between the host Eagles and Niwot in an important Northern League contest for both squads.
After surrendering three runs to the Cougars in the top of the seventh inning and having its half cut short by an illegal slide call, Broomfield managed to escape with 6-5 win in eight innings in the unlikeliest of ways: a walk-off balk. With two outs and a runner on third, Aldair Cintora got crossed up while delivering a pitch to Josh Williamson, allowing Carlos Amador to waltz home with the winning run.
Unfortunately for Niwot, the balk was undisputable. For Broomfield, it was perhaps as fortuitous as it gets.
Not too far removed from hitting a run-scoring triple, the eighth frame was a forgettable one for Cintora. He walked Amador, then allowed him to get to third on an errant pickoff attempt. When he walked Cole Biesterfeld, that opened a door for Broomfield.
“We just needed to get something going, and coach (Kale) Gilmore suggested that we just break (Biesterfeld) early and maybe something will happen,” said Broomfield head coach Garren Estes, whose team earned a split of the home-and-home series and improved to 7-4 in league. “Wild pitch, a throw in the dirt or a balk, and it did. We made some mistakes, let them back in, but we didn’t tank it. We let them know we were going to play pitch-by-pitch with them.”
To Cintora’s credit on the balk, he just did what he was told from the dugout. Voices of “step off” were heard loud and clear, but Cintora was already in his windup when he obeyed the command.
“In that situation, we’re giving him second base, so obviously we didn’t communicate well enough from the dugout to help him,” said Niwot coach Craig McBride, his team falling to 13-3 and 9-2 in league. “I don’t think he’s ever done anything like that before. Those two errors right in a row are a problem back-to-back. We could have lived with one or the other, but not both in that situation.”
Ironically, most of the game’s highlights came from the field. Amador, who pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to get the win, was busy at shortstop behind starter Eddie Flores, and Broomfield second baseman Alex Eskridge stole some momentum with a play in the fourth that kept a Niwot lead at 2-0.
On the play, Eskridge dove to a ball that Cintora hit right up the middle, lost it and then managed to corral it again and blindly find second base with his foot for a forced third out. The Eagles promptly scored three runs in the bottom of the frame, with Eskridge’s single starting the rally.
“I think that was a turning point, because we came back at the bottom of the inning and scored a few,” Eskridge said. “We knew we had to come out fighting because I don’t think they were expecting us to. We did, and we came out on top.”
Broomfield took a 5-2 lead in the fifth and held onto that until the seventh, when Niwot staged a rally of its own with four singles to tie it back up.
“We played with a lot of grit, and this team does not give up,” McBride said of the Cougars. “Broomfield is a good program, and they beat us today.”
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Broomfield 6, Niwot 5 (8 inn.)
At Broomfield HS
Niwot 110 000 30 — 5 10 2
Broomfield 000 320 01 — 6 8 2
W — Carlos Amador. L — Aldair Cintora.
Niwot hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kai Halsey Mendez 4-0-1-0, Nick Elrod 1-0-0-0, Bryan Meek 5-0-0-0, Alex Kinnison 5-2-2-0, Pete Katechis 4-1-3-1, Tanner Kirkpatrick 3-1-1-1, Danny Caruso 3-1-0-0, Cameron Kopplinger 2-0-0-0, Skyler Messinger 4-0-2-1, Aldair Cintora 4-0-1-1. Totals 35-5-10-4. 2B —Mendez, Kinnison. 3B —Cintora. SB —Caruso.
Broomfield hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kyle Holbrook 3-2-2-0, Alex Eskridge 2-1-1-1, Tanner Thomas 3-1-0-0, Caleb Cox 3-1-1-1, Troy Brewer 4-0-1-2, Carlos Amador 3-1-1-1, Cole Biesterfeld 3-0-0-0, Eddie Flores 2-0-1-0, Preston Riley 3-0-0-0. Totals 27-6-8-5. 2B — Holbrook, Brewer. SB —Brewer.
Niwot pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Meek 4.2-8-5-5-2-4, Elrod 1.1-0-0-0-0-1, Cintora 1.2-0-1-0-3-1.
Broomfield pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Flores 6.1-9-5-5-3-3, Amador 1.2-1-0-0-1-2.