Baseball: Long ball lifts Longhorns
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – A concussion sidelined Basalt’s Tanner Banc for Saturday’s doubleheader in Hotchkiss.
He made up for lost time Tuesday against visiting Coal Ridge. The junior homered twice – including a three-run shot to right center in a five-run sixth inning – to propel the offensive-minded Longhorns to a 12-6 victory, snapping a six-game skid.
“[Saturday] was a long day,” said Banc, who sustained a head injury during a collision with Aspen’s Rex Christensen on April 28. “I was ready to be back.”
And ready to contribute.
After the Titans jumped out to a 3-0, first-inning lead on a RBI single from Cole Ryan and two-run double from Rob Moore, Banc wasted little time cutting into the deficit in the bottom of the frame. He lined a fastball from Moore over the wall in left center.
“I wasn’t swinging for the fence, and that first one didn’t feel like it was going out,” Banc said. “I got it off the tip of the bat.”
The six Longhorns who followed Banc in the batting order reached in the first, resulting in two more runs – on a based-loaded walk from Cody Hoffman and a RBI infield single from Spencer Glasener that tied the game.
Basalt (4-12) took the lead in the second after Blake Scherer drove in one with a single down the line in right and Scott Hoffman lined a two-RBI single to left.
The Longhorns squandered a chance to pad the lead in the third, stranding three runners on base. They left nine on base in the game.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Longhorns head coach Mike Hoffman said. “I felt like we were never going to get the hit we needed at the time we needed.”
Coal Ridge kept things close, touching up Basalt starter Kyp Schoon for two runs in the third to pull to within one. Ryan produced another RBI single, and Nathan Terrin hit a sacrifice fly.
Terrin helped keep the Titans (5-11) in the game on the mound, too. He relieved Moore in the second and surrendered just one run – a solo homer to Schoon in the fourth – in his first four innings of work.
Things unraveled quickly for the lanky right hander in the bottom of the sixth, however. After Schoon led off with a weak fly ball to third, Cody Hoffman reach on an error and Glasener doubled to deep right. Terrin then struck out Nick Montalbano, but he left a two-strike fastball to No. 9 hitter Austin Vannice up and over the middle of the plate; Vannice drilled the pitch into the right-center gap, plating two.
He and leadoff hitter Mark Barto, who singled, came around to score on Banc’s blast.
Banc, who was 3-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored, spearheaded a Longhorns offensive attack that produced 16 hits. Glasener went 4-for-4, Scherer had three hits and Barto and Scott Hoffman each pitched in with two.
“Everyone was seeing the ball real well today,” Banc said. “When the bottom of the order is hitting the ball like that, it makes it easier for the top.”
Added coach Hoffman: “We’ve been in this boat before and seen so many of them disappear. … We were kind of dragging until the fifth or sixth, then everybody was coming through.”
Ryan and Korbyn Brown each had two hits for Coal Ridge, which visits Rifle at
6 p.m. tonight.
Basalt hosts a doubleheader with Rifle on Saturday to close out the regular season. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m.
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The Longhorns track and field prowess was most evident with their runners, winning multiple events and showing they are to be a factor for podiums, if not state championships, later this month at the state meet in Lakewood.