Aspen boys outlast Basalt | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen boys outlast Basalt

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan Aspen catcher Zach Maraziti tags out Basalts Chantry Pittman at home plate during Tuesdays game in El Jebel. The Skiers won, 14-7.
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EL JEBEL Aspen baseball coach Nate Grinzinger was hoping to rest Anderson Cole until Thursdays doubleheader against Olathe.But after squandering momentum and a four-run lead in the fourth inning of Tuesdays game against rival Basalt in El Jebel, Grinzinger decided to call on his ace with the game tied at seven.That was a momentum swing-type moment. When Anderson comes to the mound, he brings a confidence and a spark and that was the time for it, Grinzinger said. We have won four or five straight in the league. Our decision was that we wanted to keep the ball rolling.Cole did just that. The hard-throwing right hander struck out the Longhorns three, four and five hitters in the fifth, then struck out two of three and retired the side in order in the sixth. The Skiers bats responded, breaking open a tight game with six runs in the sixth. They tacked on one more in the seventh en route to a 14-7 win, running their 3A Western Slope-leading record to 7-1.Its usually lights out when [Cole] comes in, Longhorns head coach Bud Hickman said. Thats exactly what happened. It didnt look as though Aspen would need to lean on Cole, who is 4-0 this season, during the early innings. Quinn Morehead hit a two-run double to left, then Zach Maraziti drove in one with a single and later scored on a balk to give the Skiers a three-run first-inning lead.After Basalts Chantry Pittman drove in two with a double and Blake Scherer scored on an error to knot the game in the bottom of the first, Aspen was off and running again, scoring twice in both the third and fourth innings. Walker Moriarty led the way with two RBI triples and Mike Willksy hit a sacrifice fly.The Longhorns were not about to fold, however. To tell you the truth, even though we lost this was probably our best effort of the season, Hickman said. We did a lot of things right. We were able to execute our offense, something we havent been able to do.Cory Ostrander led off with a walk, Andy Delany was hit by a pitch, then Kyp Schoon reached on an error to open the bottom of the fifth inning. Ostrander and Delany scored on a Skiers miscue, then Fletcher Richman drove a ball through the hole at shortstop to drive in Schoon. Richman later scored on a balk from Aspen reliever Daniel Munger to tie the game at seven.Cole led off the fifth inning and promptly grounded out to the pitcher. As he jogged toward the dugout, Grinzinger told him to grab his glove and go warm up.Momentum was swinging with them at that point and we needed it to swing back, Cole said. Its always important to beat Basalt.Cole came out firing. He painted the outside corner to catch Basalt catcher Scott Hoffman looking and overpowered Pittman before baffling Ostrander with a well-placed fastball to retire the side.The shift was huge, Cole said. We could all feel it. The dugout got loud.And the Aspen bats caught fire. Nine straight batters reached base during the top of the sixth as the Skiers erupted. Morehead and Christian de la Cruz drove in runs with singles, Maraziti hit a two-run liner to right center and scored on an error and Moriarty scored on a balk. Morehead, Maraziti and Moriarty each had two hits and scored a total of eight runs.Our hittings been huge the offense is in tip-top shape right now, Cole said.Maraziti worked around a two-out walk and an infield error in the seventh, striking out Pittman to seal the win for Aspen, which hosts Olathe on Thursday.It was a battle for a while there, Grinzinger said. The kids really stepped up and are getting better. Were turning into a good high school baseball team.jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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