Basalt baseball collects win against Aspen
The Aspen Times
EL JEBEL — Put another mark in the win column for the Basalt High School baseball team.
Put an asterisk next to the Aspen Skiers, who pushed the Longhorns into a full seven-inning game despite the absence of their starting pitcher and double-digit errors.
The Basalt boys, fueled by a big five-run first inning, eventually slugged their way to a 15-4 victory over the Skiers on a sunny and warm Thursday afternoon at Crawford Field — the erstwhile home park for Aspen baseball.
Noah Schoenberg blasted a two-run homer to deep left-center field in the first inning — one of his three hits in the Western Slope League victory. The Basalt cleanup hitter also scored twice.
Leadoff hitter Tucker Jenkins tripled, singled and scored four runs as the Longhorns improved to 12-4 overall, 10-4 in the Western Slope League.
Cody Banc had two hits and scored twice; Cody Hoffman reached base four times and scored two runs.
Marc Barto, who split pitching duties with starter Schoenberg, also had two hits Thursday as the Longhorns made the most of their 11 hits.
And they exploited Aspen’s 10 errors in the game, including four in the frustrating first inning.
Schoenberg picked up the win after pitching four innings. He struck out seven and gave up five hits and one run.
Barto struck out five and gave up four hits in his three innings of work.
The Longhorns’ offense came against a remodeled pitching staff for Aspen.
With usual starter Patrick Martin unable to pitch because of a shoulder injury, starting catcher Max Marolt gave up the catching gear and took the mound for the Skiers.
Marolt pitched the first three innings for Aspen then moved to shortstop for the last four.
Harry Kahn went the final four innings.
After giving up five runs in the top of the first, the Skiers had a golden opportunity to get right back in the game in the bottom of the inning.
The Skiers collected back-to-back infield singles by Johnny Striker and Marolt and a line-shot single to right by Tristan Niskanen.
But Schoenberg pitched out of the bases-load jam when second baseman Carlos Leal made an outstanding defensive play to end the inning.
Leal would repeat the feat with an even more difficult defensive play in the bottom of the seventh. Both came against Aspen’s Andy Vernier.
James Burwell scored Aspen’s first run of the game in the bottom of the second. After coaxing a walk, he advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double to left by Tye Zsackey.
Facing the 10-run rule and the end of the game in the fifth, the Skiers scored their second run to force a sixth and seventh inning.
Marolt singled and scored on Niskanen’s long double to center.
In the sixth, Burwell scored again after leading off the inning with a single. He came home on Zsackey’s second RBI single.
Striker, who reached on a Basalt error, scored Aspen’s fourth run in the bottom of the seventh.
“We started out a little slow,” said Marolt, the Aspen senior captain. “But hats off to Basalt. They made the plays.”
A catcher by choice, Marolt had five strikeouts in his three innings on the mound.
“I’m primarily a catcher. But I’ll play where the team needs me the most,” said Marolt, the son of Susan and Roger Marolt.
The AHS senior said that in spite of a season shy on victories, it has been an enjoyable and fun year.
“It’s been awesome with this team. We get along well,” he said, adding that the team is intent on finishing strong in their final two games Saturday — a doubleheader against Cedaredge at Crawford Field in El Jebel.
Aspen is 2-15 overall, 2-12 in conference play.
Basalt will wrap up the conference season Saturday with a doubleheader at Olathe.
The Longhorns will host Battle Mountain in a nonconference game on Tuesday (May 6).
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