Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
FREDERICK — Sometimes, baseball can turn into a marathon and wear teams down. On Tuesday, Frederick and Niwot learned that lesson when the Warriors defeated the Cougars in grueling, 14-10 affair at Frederick.
Through six long frames, both teams saw a multitude of runs scored in a variety of ways, but a monster, seven-run fifth inning from the hosts proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Frederick senior right fielder A.J. Lyman led his boys with four RBI off of two doubles after going 2-for-3 at the plate. Shortstop Walt Van Riper led the Cougars with a 3-for-5 plate performance and two RBI singles.
“We came together as a team there at the end and we hit well as a team today,” Lyman said. “It’s been picking up a lot more lately. It has been evading us a lot this season. I would say it’s our tone at practice. It feels like we’re a lot closer.”
The Warriors improved to 5-10 with the win as Niwot fell to 2-12. The Cougars, however, seem to be just on the precipice of victory as they’ve lost two of their last three contests by just one run.
“It’s obviously bittersweet because we took the loss, but it’s good that we’re starting to swing the bat,” Van Riper said. “I see a lot of guys with better approaches, hitting the ball the other way once they get into two-strike counts. I think we’ve got that piece going and now we need to put it together with pitching.”
The Cougars and Warriors started the game off strong as they remained deadlocked through two scoreless, hitless innings. Then Niwot put an end to that.
In the top of the third, Niwot’s Jaedyn Adler earned the first hit of the game on a smooth single. The very next batter, Van Riper, didn’t waste the opportunity and knocked him in with a triple. The Cougars scored two more runs in that frame on a sequence of hit batsmen and a walk to take a 3-0 advantage early, but only managed to hold that lead for an inning.
Frederick’s offense found its spark in the bottom of the fourth, thanks in large part to a two-run double from Lyman to ease the deficit to 3-2, before exploding in the fifth inning. The Warriors batted around in that fifth frame and sent seven runners home to take the 9-4 edge after Niwot’s Spencer Olson added another RBI to the Cougars’ total off a base hit in the top of the inning.
“I thought it was huge that our guys were able to take (Niwot pitcher Jack Brooker) deep into counts to be able to kind of get the bullpen early so that we could capitalize,” Frederick coach Colin York said. “The offense did great today and that’s really how we’re going to win games. For the most part, when we’re hitting the ball, ‘W’s’ seem to come.”
Lyman added two more RBI to his total as Eli Josh and Brendan Gochanour each added one more. The Warriors even employed some aggressive baserunning as Brayden Johnson faked out Niwot’s catcher by stealing second, thus allowing Lyman to steal home from third.
Van Riper added to his own personal scorecard with an RBI single to make it 9-5 in the top of the sixth, but that’s as close as the Warriors would allow the Cougars to get to them. After that, the game devolved into a series of unfortunate pitches before finally reaching its high-scoring conclusion.
Now, the Warriors will look to start a winning streak as Niwot tries to bounce back. The two teams will meet up again at Niwot on Thursday.
“We just need to find that fight in them,” Niwot coach Ken Rosales said. “I think we’re a very talented team, but finding that fight to finish a game has been hard for us.”