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Baseball: Silver Creek edges Erie in slugfest

Teams combined for 41 runs

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LONGMONT — Silver Creek senior Bryce Gorr didn’t expect to see much playing time Thursday as the Raptors hosted Erie, much less come in to pinch hit in just the bottom of the third inning.

But there he was, at the plate with the bases loaded, trying to help get his team back in the game after a 10-run top of the third gave the visiting Tigers a commanding 12-0 lead going into the bottom of the frame.

Gorr responded with a bases-clearing double and three innings later, he drove in what would be the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth to give the Raptors a 21-20 victory and hand the Tigers their first league loss of the season.

“I was chewing seeds in the dugout and then all I hear is my name from the back of the dugout and put your helmet on, you’re going in,” Gorr said. “My first thought was just do a job. I didn’t even think I was going to play today and just to be able to come off the bench and do a job for a team is just exhilarating.”

Erie pushed a couple of runs across in the first inning, but the Tigers’ bats exploded in the third. After going through their lineup a time and a half, they had put up 10 runs.

Holden Pantier had a two-run single, Varek Van Aelstyn a two-run double and Sam Stem a three-run home run as the Tigers looked to be in complete control with that 12-0 advantage.

But there was a lot of baseball left to be played and Silver Creek head coach Brad Steward reminded his team of that before the Raptors batted in the bottom of the third.

“I told them we’re not out of it yet,” Steward said. “There is a lot of ball game left. Go up and string some quality at-bats together, have selfless approaches and try and get the next guy up and we can make hitting contagious and good things can happen.”

Silver Creek had already scored three runs in the bottom of the third when Gorr’s name was called. His double cut the Erie lead to 12-6 and after batting around themselves, the Raptors ended up scoring eight times and only trailed 12-8 going to the fourth.

Over the next couple of innings, the Tigers never let the Raptors get too close. Erie led 12-9 after four and 16-13 after five. After scoring three more runs in the top of the sixth, the Tigers led 19-13 and the Raptors were down to their last two at-bats.

Then came the bottom of the sixth, which saw Silver Creek send 14 batters to the plate — the same number Erie had in the top of the third — and scored eight times to take a 21-19 lead.

Will Schleper had a three-run triple and Zachary Koelfgen had a two-run single, but it was Gorr who came up and delivered what would turn out to be the game-winning run.

A two-out single with the bases loaded gave the Raptors a 21-19 lead. Gorr redeemed himself after striking out in the fifth.

“I had the same mentality after striking out that last time,” Gorr said. “I had to keep within myself and just be able to put a ball in play because that is all I have to do for that. I just have to put a ball in play and we have a chance.”

Stem led off the top of the seventh with a solo home run for the Tigers to make it 21-20, but with a runner on first, Silver Creek got a pair of strikeouts to end the game.

With the win, the Raptors improved to 7-7 overall and 7-3 in the 4A/5A NCAC. Erie is now 7-5 and 7-1 in league play.

Saturday, the teams will meet again, this time on the Tigers’ home field.

“We do have to go to their place, and they are going to want to get a win,” Steward said. “We are going to practice hard tomorrow and clean up some mistakes we made and hopefully be a part of another great ball game.”

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