LONGMONT — Even with just a smattering of last-minute rescheduled baseball games remaining, the regular-season title is still very much up for grabs in Class 4A Northern League.
Two of four teams still in contention, Silver Creek and Mountain View, squared off on Friday, each clawing for whatever breathing room they can get in the final days of the regular season. Moving just ahead of the pack, it was Mountain View that gained an edge with a 4-1 victory.
Friday just wasn’t Silver Creek’s day at the plate.
“Unfortunately, the last two games I don’t think we’ve played like a team that has an opportunity to make the playoffs,” Silver Creek head coach Mike Apodaca said. “Part of it might be that none of these kids have been around that the past few years but we’ve got to figure that out. Today we had great pitching and defense, we just didn’t back it up at the plate.”
The cluster atop the Northern League included Silver Creek (10-8, 8-5 Northern), Mountain View (10-7, 8-4), Longmont (12-5, 8-4), and Northridge (11-7, 8-5). In the previous six days alone, Silver Creek pulled away with a seven-run seventh inning to beat Longmont and was held to just four hits in a loss to Northridge.
With yet another top-four conference game that could go either way on Friday, Mountain View jumped out to a confident lead early, scoring four runs on five hits in the first two innings. Silver Creek, which averaged six runs through its first 17 games, put up seven hits against Mountain View starter Locke Bernhardt but failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
Held scoreless until the seventh inning, Silver Creek got runners on second and third with one out but courtesy runner Anthony Kasper was thrown out at the plate on a hard grounder to third that preserved the shutout. One batter later, courtesy runner Lukas Bush scored on a two-out error to get Silver Creek its only run.
The loss put Silver Creek in a more difficult situation with one game left in the season, a potential do-or-die contest with Northridge at home at noon Saturday. With one more shot at one of the three automatic playoff berths out of the Northern League, Apodaca likely will turn to ace Austin Wood (5-1, 1.36 earned-run average) on the mound.
“Most likely, whoever wins tomorrow’s game will be in the playoffs,” Apodaca said. “We both have five losses and after tomorrow, one of us is going to have six. Playoff teams step up in big situations and if we want to be there, we need to start making that happen.”
Silver Creek’s freshman starter Cole Winn (3-2) saw his ERA jump slightly to 4.01 after allowing four earned runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking three over six innings. Winn also led Silver Creek at the plate with a 2 for 3 day.
Follow Brad on Twitter: twitter.com/BradCochi
Mountain View 4, Silver Creek 1
At Silver Creek HS
Mountain View 220 000 0 — 4 8 1
Silver Creek 000 000 1 — 1 7 0
W — Locke Bernhardt. L — Cole Winn.
Mountain View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — TJ Felton 4-1-3-0, Locke Bernhardt 4-0-1-2, Adam Baumann 4-1-1-0, Ozzie Pearcy 3-0-2-2, Ethan Howell 3-0-0-0, Dylan Norsen 3-0-0-0, Taven Whitehurst 3-1-1-0, Holden Bernhardt 1-1-0-0, Mike Felton 2-0-0-0. Totals 27-4-7-4. 2B — Whitehurst. SB — Whitehurst, H. Bernhardt.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — George Ramirez 4-0-0-0, Zach Brown 4-0-1-0, Mitch Webster 3-0-0-0, Austin Wood 3-0-1-0, Colton Olinger 2-0-1-0, Cason Winn 3-0-1-0, Andrew Voydat 2-0-0-0, Ned Higgins 1-0-0-0, Cole Winn 3-0-2-0, Capper Newton 3-0-1-0, Lukas Bush 0-1-0-0. Totals 28-1-7-0. 2B — Winn. SB — Bush 2.
Mountain View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Locke Bernhardt 7-7-1-0-0-6.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cole Winn 6-7-4-4-3-3.