Aspen takes Hotchkiss to brink in opener |

Aspen takes Hotchkiss to brink in opener

Aspen Times writer

The Aspen High School baseball team put a scare into top 10-ranked Hotchkiss in its 2004 season-opener last Saturday, overcoming a 5-0 hole in the fifth before falling 11-9 after all seven innings.

The second half of the double-header wasn’t as superlative for the Skiers, as Hotchkiss dealt Aspen a 12-0 defeat.

Aspen’s first game, however, surpassed coach Rick Ryan’s expectations.

“It was huge,” he said. “It was much more than I could’ve asked for our first game out. They’re a top-ranked team and we almost got ’em.”

Aspen trailed 5-0 in the fifth inning of the first game when junior Pat Faurer launched a two-run homer and senior Steve White followed with a solo shot to ignite a six-run rally.

Freshman shortstop Andy MacCracken put Aspen up 7-5 with an RBI hit in the sixth inning, and finished his varsity debut 2-for-4. “A great game for his first start,” said Ryan.

Down the stretch, however, Hotchkiss “out-experienced” Aspen to take the game, Ryan said.

Aspen sophomore Kevin Couloumbe pitched five and two-thirds innings, with seven strikeouts. “A real strong effort,” Ryan said.

“I know Hotchkiss respected us because they started their ace pitcher both games,” said Ryan. “When he left after the fifth inning of the first game, things changed, and they didn’t want the same thing to happen in the second game so they brought him out again.”

Today, Aspen travels to Debeque for 2 p.m. game. On Saturday, Aspen takes on undefeated Olathe (6-0) for a double-header on the road.

“It’s gonna be a tough weekend,” said Ryan.

“But I have to say that this is the hardest working team I’ve had here in my seven years. They’re a scrappy, scrappy bunch.”

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