LOUISVILLE — Monarch began the day by playing with very little emotion. Then, in the process of a near-epic comeback against perennial-power Rocky Mountain, emotions boiled over.
The host Coyotes, who debuted this week at No. 8 in the AP media poll, trailed by as many as nine runs Thursday before putting together a large-scale rally. The burst left Monarch just shy of the No. 2 Lobos in a chaotic 12-11 loss that won’t soon be forgotten.
It would be a wild understatement to say a few key calls were disputed in the Coyotes’ initial loss of the spring.
“We gave up 12 runs, made five errors and played very poorly for four innings,” Coyotes coach Scott Weiss said. “We dug our own grave. But that was the worst officiated baseball game I’ve ever seen.”
A seventh-inning pickoff of Monarch’s Kyle Scholtz and an apparent phantom tag of Coyotes standout Logan Soole, who was subsequently ejected, were among the borderline calls.
Soole entered the Front Range League contest having not surrendered a run in 27 innings this season. He was replaced on the mound trailing 7-0 after three innings, having yielded three runs on wild pitches, one on a passed ball and one on an error. But by the time this one ended, his pitching exploits were long forgotten.
Weiss had previously requested that the game’s field umpire no longer officiate Monarch games after a dustup last season in which he ejected Scholtz. Weiss and the Coyotes (7-1-1, 2-1) took issue with four key calls by the umpire in this one.
The first came in the fifth with Rocky (6-3, 3-0) leading 9-3. A near-swing from Rocky Mountain’s Chad Bell was ruled to be checked in time, and he followed by clobbering a three-run double to make it 12-3.
Then in the bottom of the sixth, Soole capped Monarch’s six-run rally with a two-run single to make it 12-11. With runners on first and third and one out, Soole took off early for second base. The throw to second beat him by plenty, but Soole appeared to slide around the tag. He believed the umpire was in poor position to see it, erupted, and was tossed.
“That’s what was frustrating,” said Soole, who will have to miss Saturday’s game against Fort Collins. “It was a big call in a big game.”
Rocky then escaped the sixth when third baseman John Sorenson made a phenomenal play to narrowly throw out Zach Sattler.
In the bottom of the seventh, Scholtz led off with an infield single. He was nearly picked off on a close play, prompting an argument from Lobos coach Scott Bullock. Soon after, Scholtz routinely got back to the bag on another pickoff attempt and was called out in what appeared a make-up call.
Moments later, Monarch catcher Daniel Boehmler was ruled to have gone around on a soft check swing to end the game.
“We’ll definitely remember this game for the rest of the year,” Scholtz said. “It’ll definitely help to fuel us. It’ll help us remember we can’t come out flat.”
The Lobos dominated early, setting the table with Cole Anderson and Daniel Ciraula and skillfully playing small ball. They made the Coyotes pay for their errors and got a long homer from catcher Garrett Hammer en route to the sizable early lead.
“Every fundamental in baseball we violated,” Weiss said.
Midway through, Weiss challenged his players to compete. They obliged, and the comeback started with a two-run triple by Zack Berohn (3 for 3, three RBIs). Leadoff man Blake Rohm went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and pitched a scoreless seventh.
“As disappointed as I am with how we played, I’m ecstatic with how we battled back and had a chance to win the baseball game,” Weiss said.
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Rocky Mountain 12, Monarch 11
At Monarch HS
223 140 0 — 12 14 2
000 326 0 — 11 16 5
W — John Sorenson (2-0). L — Logan Soole (4-1).
Rocky Mountain hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cole Anderson 5-2-2-0, Daniel Ciraula 4-3-2-1, John Sorenson 4-1-2-1, Kyle Reisman 4-1-0-0, Garrett Hammer 5-1-1-1, Chad Bell 3-1-2-3, TJ Solverud 5-1-3-0, Alex Gonzales 3-1-1-0, Easton Dolan 1-0-0-0, Kadin Breeze 3-0-0-0, Brandon Paul 1-1-1-0. Totals 38-12-14-6. 2B — Bell. HR — Hammer (solo in 4th). SB — Anderson 2, Ciraula 2.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 5-2-4-2, Zack Berohn 3-1-3-3, Logan Soole 5-0-2-3, Zach Sattler 4-1-1-0, Kyle Scholtz 5-0-2-0, Tanner Trombley 4-2-1-0, Daniel Boehmler 3-0-0-0, Joe Kuma 0-2-0-0, Jacob Stockebrand 2-0-1-0, Mike Trenka 1-2-1-1, Gus Light 1-2-1-2. Totals 33-12-16-11. 2B — Rohm. 3B — Berohn. SB — Soole.
Rocky Mountain pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sorenson 4.1-8-5-5-4-3, Gonzales 0.1-1-0-0-2-0, Rian Olson 0.2-3-5-5-1-1, Ciraula 1.2-4-1-1-0-1.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Soole 3-8-7-5-2-5, Mitch Trenka 2-6-5-1-0-5, Berohn 1-0-0-0-0-0, Rohm 1-0-0-0-2-2.