GREELEY — Conor Stanley was in coach Eric Nakayama’s doghouse before the start of Friday’s game against Lamar.
“I was a little upset with him, he was a little late to BP today and he forgot his cleats,” Nakayama said. “And I say the only way to get in my good graces is to get a hit right here.”
That was prior to the senior’s seventh inning at-bat in a 7-7 game with the Savages.
Stanley, who has had a knack for recording big hits at Butch Butler Field, hooked reliever Braden Forney’s first pitch around the left field foul pole for a two-run home run that proved to be the winner for the Tigers in a 9-7 come-from-behind victory over the Savages in the Class 3A double elimination tournament.
“Low and behold, he gets a home run,” Nakayama said, “so he’s in my good graces again.”
Said Stanley: “It’s always fun to hit here. I was just up there looking for a pitch I could hit and when I hit it, I didn’t think I got it, next thing I see is the umpire waving me around.”
The Tigers can clinch their second consecutive 3A state title against Eaton on Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and should the Reds beat Holy Family, they will have to do so again immediately afterward.
Lamar (19-6) took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the fourth inning. Brent Crampton’s bases-clearing double to right field off of Nick Kreutzer plated three runs.
For the next two innings the Tigers bats, which were having a hard time against starter Darin Cook, showed no signs of coming alive.
That all changed when Jacob Tinnon led of the seventh with a hard-hit double to right-centerfield.
“It’s a funny game and we always talk to our kids about the mental side and just staying in there and good things will happen when you do the little things,” said Nakayama, who consulted with former Tigers coach Marc Cowell for a few helpful hints prior to the tournament. “One through nine is going to be a tough out and Tinnon comes up there, hadn’t been hitting the ball well all day, and ropes a double that starts it out for us.”
After a one-out single by Kennedy Phillips, the Tigers knotted the score when nine-hole hitter Matt Erb drove a single to center that plated Tinnon. Savages centerfielder Jake Specht tried to get Phillips at third, but his throw ended up in the dugout and allowed the tying run to score.
“I was just trying to get a hit and keep the inning going,” Erb said. “I just tried to shorten thing up, throw my hands at the ball and get it done.”
Austin Brown, who had come in relief of Kreutzer — and whose defense turned three double plays behind him in the first three innings (twice at home) — in the sixth, hit the first batter he faced in the seventh and then retired the next three to close out the game.
Brown was the only hitter to tally two hits, going 2 for 4 with two runs scored. The Tigers had eight different players record a hit.
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Holy Family 9, Lamar 7
At Butch Butler Field (Greeley)
Holy Family (23-1) 301 100 4 — 9 9 3
Lamar (19-6) 202 300 0 — 7 8 2
W — Brown (5-0). L — Forney (1-2).
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Conor Stanley 4-2-1-2, Austin Brown 4-2-2-0, Devlin Granberg 3-1-1-0, Zach Trombley 3-0-1-3, Zach Dedin 3-1-0-0, Jacob Tinnon 3-1-1-0, Chris McManus 4-0-1-0, Joe Coufal 0-0-0-0, Nick Kreutzer 1-0-0-0, Alex Comeaux 0-0-0-0, Kennedy Phillips 1-1-1-0, Matt Erb 3-1-1-1. Totals 29-9-9-7. 2B — Brown, Tinnon. 3B — Trombley. HR — Stanley (one on in 7th). SB — Dedin, Tinnon.
Lamar hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jordan Jara 5-2-1-0, Darin Cook 2-0-1-0, Jake Specht 3-2-1-0, Derrick Flower 0-0-0-0, Brent Crampton 3-0-2-4, Payden Breneman 2-1-1-0, Draven Adame 4-0-2-2, Charlie Ferris 0-0-0-0, Braden Forney 3-0-0-0, Miguel Rodriguez 0-0-0-0, Brandon Reed 2-0-0-0, Zach Ramsey 1-0-0-0, Kaleb Hansen 0-0-0-0, Colby Salisbury 3-0-0-0, Mario Morales 1-2-0-0. Totals 29-7-8-7. 2B — Adame, Crampton.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kreutzer 5-8-7-4-1-0; Brown 2-0-0-0-1-3.
Lamar pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cook 6+-6-6-6-7-8; Forney 1-3-3-30-1.