LAFAYETTE — The Saturday round robin hosted by the Peak to Peak baseball team is a near-perfect simulation of next weekend’s Class 3A postseason opening rounds.
Unlike this week, however, there is no room for missteps. In order to make the final eight-team double-elimination bracket, two regional wins without a loss is required. The Pumas got what they hope were the final kinks out of their system prior to playoffs, beating Middle Park 13-5 before having a rally against Sterling come up short in a 9-8 loss at the Peak to Peak field.
Missing two routine starters in their lineup, Peak to Peak moved to 12-6 and will look forward to the announcement of the playoff field with Max Higdon and Riley Feddema likely back on the field.
“I think we showed how (deep) this team really is, because we’re working with what we have right now and we’ve lost a couple of really close games,” said Peak to Peak head coach Derek Urban, whose team mashed 27 total hits in the two contests. “This team can be strong. I feel good about this team, but we are going to have a heart-to-heart on Monday.”
“I think we came together as a team today, which is great, but we need to focus more on situational hitting and doing things for the good of the team, not individually,” added Garrett Shriver, who had three hits in each game and also came on to pitch in relief against the Tigers in the second contest.
The set-up for Peak to Peak on Saturday also simulated a tougher opponent in the second game — which would likely be the case if they can sneak into a district championship wherever they end up traveling. Sterling also beat Middle Park to finish the season 15-4 out of the Patriot League.
The Tigers batted around and put up five runs in the first inning against Peak to Peak, finding holes with five hits off starter Niko De Niro. The Pumas were quick to respond in the bottom of the inning, but only managed two runs after getting four consecutive two-out hits.
Peak to Peak left the bases loaded in the third inning and again threatened in the fourth inning by getting a leadoff hitter on base — but they could not score. Even with Shriver coming in to stop the bleeding, Sterling managed to extend its lead to 9-2 by the middle of the sixth frame.
Shriver believes the Pumas can score in bunches, and they proved it with a nice sixth inning that made it a game again. Nathan Poretz drove in three runs with a double and Andrew Bagnato followed with a sinking line drive in right field that scored two more runs, putting the score at 9-7.
Brandon Alvarez pitched a perfect seventh, and the Pumas were able to get one run closer with another Poretz base hit to make it 9-8. Sterling could only breath a sigh of relief when Shriver, who hit the ball hard all day, lined out to center field to end the game.
“We put up five in the sixth, and showed that everyone can do a job,” Shriver said.
Peak to Peak 13, Middle Park 5
At Peak to Peak
Middle Park220 000 1 — 5 8 4
Peak to Peak413 221 x — 13 16 3
W — Isaac Van Tol. L — Gallegos.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Brandon Alvaraz 4-3-1-1, Isaac Van Tol 3-3-2-1, Isaac Nevadomski 1-1-0-0, Matt Bagnato 5-2-3-4, Baylor Weyer 5-0-3-0, Nathan Poretz 1-0-0-1, Kade Gendreau 2-0-1-0, Garrett Shriver 5-1-3-3, Niko De Niro 3-0-0-0, Matt Canella 1-0-0-0, Andrew Bagnato 3-2-1-0, Hayden Wilcox 3-0-2-1, Colton Nelson 0-1-0-0. Totals 36-13-16-11. 2B — Shriver. HR —M. Bagnato. SB —Alvarez 2, M. Bagnato, De Niro, Shriver, Van Tol 2.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Van Tol 4-6-4-4-1-4, Nevadomski 3-2-1-0-0-2.
Sterling 9, Peak to Peak 8
At Peak to Peak
Sterling510 102 0 — 9 9 2
Peak to Peak200 005 1 — 8 11 1
W — Hume. L — De Niro.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Brandon Alvarez 2-1-0-0, Isaac Van Tol 4-1-1-0, Matt Bagnato 4-3-1-0, Baylor Weyer 5-1-2-0, Nathan Poretz 4-0-3-4, Garrett Shriver 4-0-3-1, Colton Nelson 0-1-0-0, Niko De Niro 3-0-0-0, Andrew Bagnato 4-0-1-2, Hayden Wilcox 2-0-0-0, Isaac Nevadomski 0-1-0-0. Totals 32-8-11-7. 2B —Poretz, Shriver. SB —Alvarez, M. Bagnato..
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — De Niro 1-5-5-5-1-1, Shriver 4.1-4-4-3-4-4, Alvarez 1.2-0-0-0-0-1.