FORT COLLINS — It wasn’t exactly the way Colt Sedbrook and his Boulder Panthers drew up the 2016 baseball season.
They never were able to string more than two wins in a row and the losses outnumbered the wins early on, making it tough to gain any traction.
But the Panthers perserveered and finished with a flourish, posting back to back wins on Friday night at Horizon and then on Saturday afternoon in Fort Collins. Boulder busted out the bats, bashing 14 hits in a 15-4 five inning rout of the Fossil Ridge Sabercats.
“We talked about batting average in counts and the deeper you get into counts, the worse your batting average is,” said Sedbrook, whose team concluded 2016 with an 8-11 overall record and a 5-7 mark in the Front Range League. “Especially on a cold day like this, you want to get up there as much as possible especially with rain forecast later in the day. You just want to be ahead of the game.”
The cold and blustery day did nothing to quell the Boulder bats. The top of the order jumped on Fossil Ridge starter Nate Simianer from the get-go.
Mason Hitz, Ben Davis and Henry Ryan started the game with three straight hits and plated two runs.
After the Sabercats tied things up in the bottom half of the inning and the lineup turned over going to the third, the hitting became even more contagious.
Starting with Hitz again, Boulder strung together six consecutive hits to begin the frame, ultimately sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six runs against Simianer.
Aiden Chandler belted the first of his three extra base hits in the game to the fence in right-centerfield for a triple that drove in Davis and Ryan.
“It is contagious. It helps having people going out there and hitting the ball hard and really bringing up the energy for the whole team,” said Chandler, who had doubles in both the fourth and fifth innings. “We really wanted to come out for our seniors, they have been a big part of our lives and our baseball careers.”
The Panthers would tack two on in the fourth and evoked the mercy rule in the top of the fifth, adding five more runs — four with two outs — including a base clearing double by Cameron Mainland that drove in three.
It was all in support of sophomore pitcher Sanjay Solomon, who earned his first win of the year. Solomon, who didn’t walk a man in his four innings of work, did a great job of pitching to contact and allowing his defense to work behind him.
Sedbrook is hopeful that the two wins to close out the season carry over not only into the summer season, but into next year as well.
“I think it is huge especially for those seniors to leave with two big wins,” Sedbrook said. “Those young guys now have that taste in their mouth that we can do this together.”
Boulder 15, Fossil Ridge 4
At Fossil Ridge
Boulder (8-11, 5-7)
206 25 — 15 14 2
Fossil Ridge (7-12, 5-7)
200 20 — 4 5 4
W — Sanjay Solomon (1-0). L — Nate Simianer (0-4).
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Mason Hitz 3-3-2-0, Sanjay Solomon 0-0-0, Cameron Burke 1-0-0-0, Den Davis 3-2-2-2, Max Pulitzer 0-0-0-0, Henry Ryan 3-2-3-0, Andrew McCarthy 0-0-0-1, Aiden Chandler 4-3-3-3, Jackson Dinkel 3-1-2-2, Sam Douglas 0-1-0-0, Derek Cunningham 3-2-1-1, Dana Sullivan 2-1-0-1, Cameron Mainland 4-0-1-3, Jordan Wardell 3-0-0-0, Jacob L’Heureux 0-0-0-0. Totals 29-15-14-13. 2B — Chandler 2, Hitz, Mainland. 3B — Chandler, Cunningham. SB — Ryan.
Fossil Ridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ryan Sipes 2-0-0-0, Adrian Pullaro 3-1-1-0, Dante Randolph 3-1-1-1, Jimmy Souverein 1-0-0-1, Nick Girardi 1-1-0-0, Tim Ehlers 2-1-1-0, Max Hayne 1-0-0-1, RJ Barnes 2-0-1-1, Nate Simianer 1-0-1-0, Andrew Low 0-0-0-0, Jason Durnil 1-0-0-0, Jack Cosper 0-0-0-0. Totals 17-4-5-4. 3B — Randolph.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Solomon 4-5-4-4-0-0, Burke 1-0-0-0-0-3.
Fossil Ridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Simianer 3.1-12-10-8-0-5, Durnil 1-1-5-3-6-1, Sipes .1-1-0-0-0-0.