LOUISVILLE — Given the way Logan Soole currently is throwing the ball, there might very well come a day when the Monarch baseball team can post a victory without even recording a hit.
Of course that will never be the goal, though that fantasy scenario not only is a testament to Soole’s early brilliance, but also to the fundamentally efficient manner in which the Coyotes are scoring their runs so far.
Monarch scratched out two runs in the first inning Saturday, and that was more than enough for Soole to put away Fossil Ridge for a 3-0 Monarch victory in both teams’ Front Range League opener.
“I’m really excited about our team, and particularly what I’m excited about is our defense,” Monarch coach Scott Weiss said. “Last year we had a really porous defense, but we’ve had only one game with errors this year. When you have defense, it gives a pitcher like Logan the confidence that he doesn’t have to strike everybody out. Guys can put the ball in play if he throws strikes, versus last year where it got to the point where he had to strike everybody out.
“Logan is throwing the heck out of the ball, but we’re playing great defense behind all our pitchers.”
Soole may not be required to strike out every opposing hitter, but the early indications are that he very well could if needed.
Soole’s shutout on Saturday extended his season-opening scoreless streak to 27 innings. In those 27 innings, the Southern Illinois recruit has allowed only 10 hits and six walks to go along with 45 strikeouts. Against a struggling Fossil Ridge team that has scored just 13 runs in seven games, Soole retired 16 of the first 17 batters he faced. He allowed just three hits and no walks while recording 10 strikeouts.
“I knew our defense would make plays, so I was just trying to get them to put the ball in play,” Soole said. “I know there’s a strong defense behind me.”
The Coyotes proved opportunistic on offense, staking Soole to a lead by scoring two runs in the first on just one hit, getting a pair of productive outs that included an RBI groundout from senior Kyle Scholtz. Soole helped his own cause by driving in the game’s first run on a sharp single to center field.
Protecting a two-run lead, Soole ran into minor trouble in the sixth when a pair of Fossil Ridge singles and a wild pitch gave the SaberCats runners on second and third with one out and the heart of the Fossil Ridge lineup coming out. But Soole was able to coax Dylan Hodgson into a groundout — it actually was a soft line drive off the fists that forced the runners to hold their ground — before ending the threat with a strikeout of No. 3 hitter Jake Orphan.
Monarch added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a pair of walks, a stolen base, and a wild pitch before Soole finished the shutout with a perfect seventh.
“We always know when Logan is on the mound, they’re not going to score many runs,” Scholtz said. “Everyone knows situational hitting and how to execute. We get a couple of those, and we’ll be good with Logan on the mound. It’s great getting ahead early because we know Logan is going to throw strikes and we just have to play defense behind them.”
Next up for the Coyotes is a challenging week that includes a home date Thursday against defending Class 5A state champion Rocky Mountain. Weiss wouldn’t commit to returning Soole to the mound against the Lobos, but regardless it will be a stern test for a Coyotes squad off to a solid 6-0-1 start.
“We’ll see how his arm feels on Thursday,” said Weiss, whose club plays at Poudre on Tuesday. “And then on Saturday we’ve got Fort Collins and they’re a tough team. But the message to the team is that we’ve got Poudre on Tuesday. Looking past Poudre would be a huge mistake.”
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Monarch 3, Fossil Ridge 0
At Monarch HS
Fossil Ridge 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
Monarch 200 001 x — 3 2 0
W — Soole (4-0). L — Codi Heuer (1-3).
Fossil Ridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Keegan Lecher 3-0-1-0, Dylan Hodgson 3-0-0-0, Jake Orphan 3-0-0-0, Mitch Simmons 3-0-0-0, Evan Dummer 3-0-0-0, Shea Cronin 3-0-0-0, Shane Hammel 2-0-0-0, Trevor Butters 2-0-0-0, Ryan Cronin 2-0-2-0. Totals 24-0-3-0.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 2-1-1-0, Zack Berohn 3-0-0-0, Logan Soole 1-1-1-1, Kyle Scholtz 3-0-0-1, Tanner Trombley 3-0-0-0, Zach Sattler 2-1-0-0, Jason Jacobs 2-0-0-0, Jacob Stockebrand 1-0-0-0, Michael Trenka 0-0-0-0, Gus Light 3-0-0-0. Totals 20-3-2-2. SB — Soole, Sattler.
Fossil Ridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Codi Heuer 5.2-2-2-1-6-4; Christian Montague 0.1-0-0-0-0-0.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Soole 7-3-0-0-0-10.