LAFAYETTE — Fifteen days passed, and several vacations were planned and executed, between games for the baseball teams at Peak to Peak and Jefferson Academy by the time Wednesday’s rematch came around.
The extended break took its toll on both sides as far as cleanliness, but all in all it was a much more even matchup this time around at the Peak to Peak baseball field than when they had previously met back on March 20 — so much so, the Pumas and Jaguars had to play extra innings to settle their Metro League contest.
In the end, thanks to a couple of bashing Bagnato brothers, a solid effort from a sophomore pitcher in relief, and perhaps one too many mistakes from Jefferson Academy, the Pumas were able to take a 4-3 win in eight innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Sophomore Andrew Bagnato’s opposite-field single scored Baylor Weyer with the winning run in the eighth, following up a situation where Peak to Peak’s Niko DeNiro also reached base on a third-strike wild pitch with two outs on the scoreboard.
Matt Bagnato also had two triples in the game, and the Pumas were able to overcome plenty of visible rust to get the victory.
“You have to tip your hat to JA because they battled the whole game and had a lot of energy — they were ready to get us tonight,” said Peak to Peak head coach Derek Urban, whose squad rallied from being down 3-0 in the third inning. “I’m glad that a couple of kids stepped up and did what they needed to do. We showed we weren’t quite in tune, and it’s understandable after taking a week and a half off.
“I’m really happy that Andrew got that clutch base hit at the end. A kid that usually says nothing, after that he comes out and says, ‘Just call me Mr. Clutch.’ That’s why we do what we do. It was perfect.”
Unlike a 10-0 Peak to Peak win the first meeting, Wednesday’s game had some flair. Jefferson Academy (4-3, 0-2) scored a run in the second and then added a pair of runs in the third, using five total base hits in those two innings to get ahead against starter Isaac Van Tol.
While the Jaguars continued to get baserunners, they were stagnant the rest of the way hitting with opportunities to add runs. Peak’s Brandon Alvarez pitched out of a jam in the fifth inning as he came on with runners at second and third with one out and got a strikeout and a fly-out, and then Garrett Shriver managed to strike out a pair of batters to end the sixth inning after Alvarez had walked the bases loaded with one out.
Matt Bagnato had helped reel JA back in with triples in the third and fifth innings — the first one brought in a run, and he would score on his second triple off a Max Higdon single to make it 3-3.
Matt Bagnato would then make a highlight-reel play at short in the top of the eighth, giving way to his younger brother’s easy-swing base knock in the bottom of the inning for the walk-off special. Weyer’s stolen base in the inning after he singled also paid big dividends.
“It was definitely pretty rusty, and we seemed to have come in with the mentality that we were going to score a bunch of runs and hold them just like last time,” Matt Bagnato said. “It wasn’t that way … we had some bone-headed plays with some errors. But I think we worked off the rust and will be good for the rest of the season.
“(Andrew’s winning hit) was awesome. I’ve watched him play baseball all my life, and I was super-excited for him. He’s a good little hitter.”
Each team had nine hits, with Higdon adding three singles for the Pumas. The Jaguars got two hits apiece from Grant Anderson and Damion Nelson.
Peak to Peak 4, Jefferson Academy 3 (8 inn.)
At Peak to Peak Charter
Jefferson Academy012 000 00 — 3 9 2
Peak to Peak002 010 01 — 4 9 3
W — Garrett Shriver. L — Grant Anderson.
Jefferson Academy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Elian Soto-Gutierrez 3-0-1-0, Pearson Gardner 4-1-1-0, Caleb Lumbard 4-0-0-0, Grant Anderson 5-0-2-0, Damion Nelson 4-2-2-1, Ryan Ponzio 2-0-1-1, Brendan Baker 3-0-0-0, Kade Leuthauser 4-0-1-0, Vinny Scarato 2-0-1-0.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Matt Bagnato 3-2-2-1, Brandon Alvarez 3-0-0-0, Max Higdon 4-0-3-1, Baylor Weyer 4-1-1-0, Nathan Poretz 3-0-1-0, Garrett Shriver 4-0-0-0, Niko DeNiro 3-0-0-0, Andrew Bagnato 4-0-2-1, Isaac Van Tol 2-1-0-0, Riley Feddema 0-0-0-0. 3B —M. Bagnato 2. SB —Weyer.
Jefferson Academy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Soto-Gutierrez 5-7-3-2-0-2, Anderson 3-2-1-1-3-3.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Isaac Van Tol 3-5-3-1-2-2, Isaac Nevadomski 1.1-3-0-0-1-0, Alvarez 1-0-0-0-3-2, Shriver 2.2-1-0-0-1-5.