FREDERICK — The Erie High baseball team has flirted with disaster in nearly every game it has played this season. But by the skin of their teeth, the Tigers have played their way to an impressive start.
In their typical self-induced, nail-biting fashion, Erie pulled off two more scary wins on Saturday against a quality team in Tri-Valley League rival Frederick High.
After a 4-3 and 12-7 doubleheader sweep, during which the Tigers trailed going into the final inning of both games, Erie senior Zane Begano pointed out the obvious.
“We’ve definitely been surviving lately and it might come back to get us if we don’t clean up our defense and our hitting with runners in scoring position earlier in the game,” Begano said. “We’re really happy with where we stand but we’ve had ups and downs and we’ve had to keep fighting back. It might come back to get us if we can’t figure it out.”
Erie (7-2, 6-0 Tri-Valley) has now won five games in the seventh inning or later. The Tigers also lost 2-1 to Evergreen in the 10th inning on March 16.
In the first game on Saturday, Erie trailed 3-2 with two outs into the top of the seventh inning. Senior leadoff hitter BJ Jensen singled and stole second. Up next, Josh Crites singled to drive in Jensen and tie the game. Frederick starter Evan Prestwich then walked three-hole hitter Kyle Leahy, cleanup hitter Nic Ogimachi and then Luke Conilogue, bringing home Crites on a close ball four call for what ended up being the game-winning run.
In Game 2, Frederick led 7-6 heading into the top of the seventh inning. Sparked by a leadoff double from Leahy, Erie rallied to score six runs on five hits, three walks, and a Frederick error.
Despite his team’s late-game heroics, Erie head coach Harold Simmons remains concerned about his team’s defensive mistakes, such as the two errors, dropped pop-up behind the plate, and misplayed fly ball that led to three unearned Frederick runs against Erie starter Rueben Portillo in the fourth inning of Game 2 on Saturday.
“Any time you can win a league doubleheader, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Simmons said. “But I felt like they outplayed us. In the first game, we just melted down in the one inning. In the second game, we didn’t play a lick of defense. Luckily, we caught the momentum in that last inning.
“One thing our guys do is stay even-keel and battle. Our pitchers threw well and our guys stayed in the game like they have all season. The defense is just discouraging.”
Between the two games, Frederick led three times in the fourth inning or later. Losing both games dropped the Warriors’ record down to .500 (5-5, 2-4 Tri-Valley) through their first 10 games.
“Our kids did what we asked them to do,” Frederick head coach Ted Clapp said. “They put the ball in play and they executed all the little details. We’re proud of them. We didn’t end up on the end we wanted to but those things are going to happen in the game of baseball. We’ve got some close losses to good, strong teams and we’re putting up nine, 10 hits against some of the best pitchers in 4A. We’ve just got to get over that little hump.”
Erie will continue its Tri-Valley schedule on the road against Berthoud on Thursday. Frederick will play a non-conference game against Wheat Ridge on the road Monday.
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Erie 4, Frederick 3
At Frederick HS (Game 1)
Erie 010 100 2 — 4 9 4
Frederick 000 030 0 — 3 6 2
W — Kyle Leahy. L — Evan Prestwich.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — BJ Jensen 4-1-3-0, Josh Crites 4-1-1-0, Kyle Leahy 2-0-0-0, Nic Ogimachi 3-0-0-0, Luke Conilogue 3-1-2-1, Zane Begano 3-1-2-0, Matt Sorenson 3-0-1-0, Nick Gavit 3-0-0-1, Zach Elliston 2-0-0-0. Totals 27-4-9-2. 3B — Jensen. SB — Begano, Jensen.
Frederick hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lane Hiser 3-1-1-0, Dalton Nelson 4-0-0-0, Eric Worley 4-1-0-0, Trystin Montano 4-0-2-1, Cameron Muncy 4-0-0-0, Evan Prestwich 2-0-1-0, Mario Ramirez 3-0-0-0, Spencer Truitt 2-0-0-0, Justin Smith 1-0-0-0, Matt Entrekin 3-1-2-0. Totals 30-3-6-1. 2B — Montano. SB — Muncy.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kyle Leahy 7-6-3-2-1-10.
Frederick pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Evan Prestwich 7-9-4-3-5-4.
Erie 12, Frederick 7
At Frederick HS (Game 2)
Erie 300 030 6 — 12 13 3
Frederick 002 302 0 — 7 11 3
W — Nick Gavit. L — Dalton Nelson.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — BJ Jensen 4-0-0-1, Josh Crites 3-2-2-0, Kyle Leahy 5-1-2-1, Nic Ogimachi 3-0-0-0, Luke Conilogue 3-2-1-1, Zane Begano 4-2-4-3, Matt Sorenson 2-0-0-0, Nick Gavit 2-0-2-3, Zach Elliston 3-0-1-0, Tucker Dudley 3-1-1-0, Dakota Duerksen 0-0-0-0, Riley Deckert 0-3-0-0, Victor Villa 0-1-0-0. Totals 32-12-13-9. 2B — Leahy 2, Begano, Gavit, Crites, Dudley. SB — Deckert, Elliston, Leahy.
Frederick hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lane Hiser 4-1-2-2, Dalton Nelson 4-0-1-2, Eric Worley 4-0-1-0, Trystin Montano 3-1-0-0, Cameron Muncy 4-0-1-0, Evan Prestwich 4-1-1-0, Mario Ramirez 3-3-2-2, Justin Smith 4-0-2-1, Matt Entrekin 1-0-1-0, Avery Elkins 0-1-0-0. Totals 31-7-11-7. 2B — Nelson. 3B — Ramirez, Hiser. SB — Muncy, Hiser.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Rueben Portillo 4-7-5-2-1-5, Nick Gavit 3-4-2-2-0-2.
Frederick pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Matt Entrekin 5-8-6-6-3-2, Dalton Nelson 2-5-6-5-4-1.