Baseball: Five-run fourth lifts Basalt over rival Aspen
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – The Basalt hitters struggled against light-throwing Aspen starter Alex Bush during the first three innings Tuesday.
Then, the Longhorns made the necessary adjustments.
In Bush’s second time through the Basalt lineup, he was lifted in favor of Evan Patzoldt when the first two Longhorns reached base in the fourth. Basalt (5-9) scored five runs in the inning to take a 7-4 lead and went on to win, 8-4, dropping the Skiers to 0-12.
Nick Calabro earned the win for the Longhorns, striking out four and walking 10 in five innings of work.
“Nick is usually our reliever,” Basalt head coach Mike Hoffman said. “Due to some grades and suspensions on the team, we had to pull him up and ask him to go the whole distance. Once he got warmed up, he got a little bit more focused.”
Calabro escaped two bases-loaded situations in the first and fourth innings. Aspen was unable to capitalize on a host of walks and six errors committed behind Calabro.
“He’s a sophomore, so he has a little bit more learning to do,” Hoffman said. “He threw 100 or so pitches when we finally pulled him. A lot of them could have been outs when he had two strikes and then walked them.”
Fortunately for the Longhorns, Aspen’s pitchers were struggling, too.
Patzoldt lasted just two-thirds of an inning; Basalt’s Tanner Banc missed a home run to center by a few feet, settling for a run-scoring double that capped the five-run fourth inning.
“Tanner has been looking for a home run all year, and that is the closest we came to putting one over the fence,” Hoffman said. “The kids timed that fast pitching so much better.”
In contrast to Bush, Patzoldt’s pitches were considerably quicker. The right hander threw primarily fast balls, and after six batters he was lifted for Joshua Garcia.
“We have struggled with the slow ball all year,” Hoffman said. “It just seems like we get the fast ball, then we get a slow pitcher and they just throw us way off. It’s definitely something we need to start working on.”
The Skiers mounted a comeback in the fifth. Garcia drew a walk to lead off and advanced to third when Calabro threw wide to first while trying to gun down the next batter, Nick Belinski. Afterward, Kalen Grabow grounded to third baseman Banc, and Garcia ran home when Banc threw to first. In a close play, Garcia was called out at home on an accurate throw by the Longhorns first baseman.
Garcia stood stunned at home plate and appeared to exchange a few words with the umpire. He was promptly ejected from the game, putting Aspen down one player as Skiers head coach Mark Hinch had already used his bench players.
In the sixth, Joe Kistner replaced Garcia on the mound, and the team placed just two players in the outfield.
Hinch declined comment after the game.
Cody Hoffman relieved Calabro in the sixth and gave up two hits and struck out two.
Basalt hosts Hotchkiss and Aspen visits Olathe in two doubleheaders Saturday.
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