Basalt blasts Aspen, 29-4 |

Basalt blasts Aspen, 29-4

Nate Peterson
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

First-year Basalt baseball coach Rick Ryan wanted nothing more than to beat Aspen on its home field Thursday to sweep his old team.After the Longhorns belted out 35 hits off four Aspen pitchers in just five innings to deal the Skiers a 29-4 defeat, Ryan changed his tune. “You just don’t want to offend anyone in a game like this, but at the same time you don’t want to tell your kids not to try,” said Ryan, whom Aspen athletic director Carol Sams didn’t retain last summer after nine seasons coaching the Skiers. “I really didn’t know what to do. I really care about a lot of the kids over there, and the last thing you want to do is pound them down.”

If there was any good news for the Skiers, it was that Aspen hosted a home game at Upper Moore Field for the first time in two years. Otherwise, it was the most disappointing of games for the home team and home fans.”The most frustrating game of my life,” said Aspen’s Dilllon Morehead, who went 2-for-2 and drove in a run as the Skiers’ designated hitter. “And I didn’t even play in the field. It was just really frustrating. Just error after error, and not getting pumped up after we finally got out of the inning – I can’t think of anything that wasn’t disappointing.”First-year Aspen head coach Matt Lilleberg declined questions after the game.Aspen trailed 6-2 after the first two innings, and Basalt was up 10-2 after the third. That quickly changed in the top of the fourth, after Basalt batted through its entire lineup twice to score 12 runs against three different Aspen pitchers.

Ryan eventually made his runners stop taking extra bases, but he couldn’t tell his batters not to swing. He also couldn’t tell his base runners not to go on a hit – and so the runners kept circling the bags.Taylor Huske replaced Nicky Anastas in the fourth after the starter gave up 10 runs – eight earned. Huske gave up eight runs in the inning while recording the first two outs, before giving way to Collin Smit,h who surrendered four more runs.Basalt’s stats were staggering. Eight of the starting nine scored in the inning, before Ryan started making substitutions. The Basalt subs didn’t make things easier for Huske or Smith, as Basalt cranked out 14 hits before Smith threw Alan Prater out at first.”I played every single player on the team,” Ryan said. “There’s not much more you can do. I wasn’t trying to run up the score.”

The game should have ended there, but state rules mandate five full innings before the 10-run mercy rule. So, the two teams played the final inning. Morehead gave the home fans something to cheer about when he roped a triple off reliever Gustavo Hurtado that scored Huske. Bo Weinglass, who replaced Matt Beirne in the lineup, then brought Morehead home.The one-out rally was short-lived, however. Anastas ground out to first, and Jeff LaGrua ended the inning with a fly-out to center. Basalt’s subs added another seven runs in the top of the fifth, and the Skiers failed to score in the bottom half of the inning.Basalt (4-6 overall, 3-6 in Western Slope 3A) next plays at Rangeley at 10 a.m. Saturday. Aspen (3-10, 2-6) hosts Olathe in a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday. Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is

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