Losses mean Aspen to face top-seeded Olathe in playoffs
By Steve Benson
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Following two commanding wins last week, the Aspen baseball team seemed poised to capture a higher seed in the playoffs heading into a doubleheader with Cedaredge on the road Saturday.
But the Skiers came up short, losing both games to remain in last place in the conference.
“We had to sweep, we couldn’t split,” coach Rick Ryan said about the doubleheader.
By losing, the Skiers were unable to capture a higher seed and will face top-seeded Olathe in the first round of the Western Slope Conference playoffs Tuesday on the road.
Saturday, the Skiers lost the first game 6-5 and were blown out in the second 14-0.
“The first game, we outplayed them in every way, and we should have won,” Ryan said. “In the second game, we didn’t even show up.”
Hopes were high that the Skiers would sweep Cedaredge Saturday, following a 12-2 victory over Debeque and a 9-1 win over Grand Valley last week.
In those two games, Ryan said the Skiers got solid pitching from Kevin Couloumbe, a sophomore, and Pat Faurer, a junior. Max Redmond, a junior, went 3-for-3 in both games and is hitting .600.
“He’s just really hot right now,” Ryan said.
Olathe presents an enormous challenge in what the coach called “the most balanced team in the league.”
But he said Aspen won’t back down.
“We’re going to stay in it and make it interesting. We don’t want to give up.”
Last week, Aspen regained its starting roster, which it lost in the first week of the season because of injuries. Furthermore, Ryan said the bats are starting to come to life, and the pitching has been surprisingly good. What’s hurting Aspen, however, is a lack of experience.
“It’s killing us,” he said. “But they’re young guys, they make mistakes.”
Aspen has only two seniors and is consistently fielding a team dominated by freshmen.
Ryan said with the depth of good pitching on the team, he won’t hesitate to pull a pitcher if he starts to struggle Tuesday.
“If we have to go one kid per inning to keep the game close, we’ll do that,” he said. “We need to stay close and find something to do late – we have enough ability to pull something off.”
Steve Benson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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