LONGMONT — Friday’s season opener may have been called early due to darkness, but the Silver Creek baseball team is certainly happy to have kicked off the season with a rivalry win.
Hosting the Niwot Cougars, with whom the Silver Creek boys split a pair of Northern League games last season, the Raptors pulled ahead early and held on to close out a 5-3 conference victory. It wasn’t the easiest of ways to start the season but the Raptors, who enter the campaign ranked sixth in Class 4A by the CHSAANow.com poll, were happy to get out of Friday’s game with an unconventional win.
“We started off really good,” Raptors center fielder Junior Ramirez said. “Cole (Winn) was throwing some good pitches and we hit the ball well. We slowed down a little bit after the first few innings and lost our focus. But it’s always nice to start off the season with a win against a cross-town rival.”
Ramirez went 2 for 3 at the plate on Friday to pace a Raptors lineup that put up three runs in the first inning and scored a run apiece in the second and third to back starting pitcher Cole Winn. A Mississippi State commit, Winn and the Raptors pitchers held the Cougars to three hits, all of which were doubles.
The Raptors and Cougars will play the second of their two-game conference home-and-away series at noon on Saturday.
“To start with a rival and a conference game, the fact that we got a win was big for us,” Raptors head coach Mike Apodaca said. “We’ve got a lot to clean up before tomorrow, which isn’t a lot of time. We had some good focus and good at bats and we got the lead early on and didn’t relinquish it.”
The Raptors got to Niwot starter Griffin Mitchell early, as he was up in the zone during the first few frames. But Silver Creek left a number of runners on base after the first three innings as Mitchell began to settle in.
The Cougars began to turn the momentum in their favor when left fielder Trevor Green threw a runner out at home plate in the third inning. But while they put up three runs between the third and fourth innings, the game being called in the bottom of the sixth negated any possibility of a comeback.
“It was definitely a tough first game against a quality opponent,” Cougars head coach Craig McBride said. “I thought we played pretty well. Our guys battled clear to the end and it was a pretty clean game for the first game of the year.”
Silver Creek 5, Niwot 3
At Silver Creek H.S.
Niwot (0-1) 311 000 — 5 3 3
Silver Creek (1-0) 001 200 — 3 7 1
W — Winn.
Niwot hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Green 3-1-1-1, Wills 2-0-0-0, Def Enfants 2-1-1-0, Sims 3-0-0-0, Goldfarb 2-0-1-0, Snead 0-1-0-0, Neve 3-0-0-1, Stephens 3-0-0-0, Kinnison 2-0-0-0, Messinger 3-0-0-0. 2B — Green, Def Enfants, Goldfarb. SB — Stephens 2, Mitchell.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elting 2-1-0-0, Smedley 3-1-1-0, Ramirez 3-2-2-1, Winn 3-0-1-1, Gregory 0-0-0-0, Browne 3-0-1-0, Kramer 2-0-0-0, Ordway 0-0-0-0, Call 3-0-0-0, Gambirasi 1-1-0-0, Bicknell 1-0-1-0, Rich 3-0-1-0, Olinger 0-0-0-0. 2B — Rich. SB — Elting, Gambirasi.
Niwot pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mitchell 3.1-8-5-5-2-2, Stephens 2.1-0-0-0-2-3.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Winn 4-3-3-1-1-11, Ordway 2-0-0-0-0-2.