Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Skyline’s Walter Nieuwlandt connects for a double during the Falcons’ Tri-Valley League win Tuesday at Mead.

MEAD — Tuesday was moving day for the Skyline baseball team.

Gearing up for a late push for the postseason, Skyline was presented with a prime opportunity against Mead, the team immediately ahead of it in the 4A Tri-Valley League standings. When opportunity knocked, Skyline answered.

Jumping on Mead at its home field, Skyline ran away right out of the gate to win 12-8.

“I’m thrilled that we got this one,” Skyline head coach Mike Hoog said. “Now we just need to get the rest of them.”

Last season, Skyline finished 13-8 and was eliminated in district play. Tuesday’s win moved Skyline (9-7, 5-6 Tri-Valley) into a tie with Mead (7-8, 5-6 Tri-Valley) for fourth in the Tri-Valley and significantly increased Skyline’s chances of making a return to the 4A postseason.

With four games remaining, all in a six-day span, Skyline needs to win out starting with Berthoud (5-11, 2-9 Tri-Valley) on Thursday in order to have a shot at the third and final automatic playoff berth out of the Tri-Valley. Skyline also not only needs to beat Holy Family (10-6, 7-4 Tri-Valley), which currently sits third in the conference, but needs Holy Family to lose at least one of its remaining games against sixth-place Frederick (6-10, 3-8 Tri-Valley).

Batting around in each of the first two innings on Tuesday, Skyline scored five runs on four hits, three walks and two Mead errors in the top of the first inning. In the second, Skyline scored five more runs on three hits, a walk, an error and a wild pitch.

“I think that’s only the second time this year we’ve come out and got the lead,” Hoog said. “Every other game, I think we’ve had to come from behind. We still need to finish stronger and be a little more consistent on the mound but we’re starting to swing it a little better.”

Skyline pushed its lead to 12-1 after the top of the fourth inning. But narrowly avoiding the five-inning mercy rule, Mead rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

In the sixth, Mead scored five runs on seven hits to pull within four at 12-8 before the rally ended in a controversial call at second base. With runners on the corners and one out, Dillon Buckendorf hit a potential double-play grounder to Skyline shortstop Tyler Hamby, who flipped the ball to second baseman Nick Hamby for the first out. On the ensuing return throw, which Nick Hamby never released, the second-base umpire ruled that Mead base runner Jake Skrine slid too far outside of the basepath and called him out to end the inning.

“It’s hard to win baseball games when you come out and have multiple errors in the first inning and give the other guys an opportunity to keep swinging the bats,” Mead head coach Wes Sells said. “They took advantage of our errors. Our pitcher did a pretty good job and I’m happy that our guys battled back but you’re no going to win a lot of ball games when you give up 10 runs in the first two innings.

“I’m really frustrated about that umpire’s call. That absolutely killed our momentum in the inning. But there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Mead also has four games left to play between Thursday and Monday. Next up is a road game against conference-leading Erie on Thursday.

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Skyline 12, Mead 8

At Mead HS

Skyline 551 100 0 — 12 9 1

Mead 100 025 0 — 8 14 4

W — Nate Higgins. L — David Kirby.

Skyline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Matt Bulow 3-2-21, Tyler Hamby 5-1-2-0, Thomas Hoog 2-3-0-0, Justin Forsyth 2-0-0-1, Ben Alexander 1-0-0-0, Tyler Brenneman 3-1-1-0, Walter Nieuwlandt 5-2-1-1, Jesus Bojoroquez 4-1-1-0, Avery Riddoch 1-0-0-0, Nick Hamby 2-1-1-2, Daniel Kalfas 3-1-1-2. Totals 31-12-8-7. 2B — Borjoroquez, Nieuwlandt. SB — Hoog 2, Brenneman.

Mead hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Gunner Picket 4-0-1-1, Jake Skrine 2-0-1-1, Dillon Buckendorf 4-1-1-0, Easton Adler 4-1-2-0, Justin Nelson 4-1-1-1, Tyler Levine 4-1-1-1, Luke Levine 3-2-2-1, JT Surrage 3-2-2-0, AJ Bartel 3-0-3-1. Totals 31-8-14-6. 2B — Buckendorf, Picket, Skrine, Nelson. 3B — T. Levine. SB — Buckendorf.

Skyline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Nate Higgins 6-14-8-7-1-3, Justin Forsyth 1-0-0-0-0-2.

Mead pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — David Kirby 2-7-10-4-4-0, JP Trott 1-1-2-1-5-1, Scott Martenson 4-1-0-0-0-2.