Battle Mountain scores 10 in fifth, routs Basalt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – The top half of the fifth inning Thursday lasted so long that Battle Mountain head coach Jason Spannagel admitted he was getting cold as he stood near third base.
He gladly dealt with the discomfort.
The Huskies opened the frame with six straight hits, sent 15 men to the plate and scored 10 runs. That was more than enough insurance for starter Chris Duran, who retired the final 15 Longhorns he faced to lead 4A Battle Mountain to a 13-1, mercy-rule shortened victory.
“Just how I planned it,” Spannagel joked afterward. “When you start scoring, you never want to stop until you have to.”
Donnie Cuomo and Cameron Brown opened the fifth with sharp singles, then came around to score on Jon Simpson’s double to the gap in left-center. Joe LyBarger and Riley Robbins followed with run-scoring singles, chasing Basalt starter Scott Hoffman.
Longhorns reliever Blake Scherer fared no better. After walking Guy Garth, Mike Jones hit a sharp single through the hole at shortstop to drive in two, and Davey Honda drove in one with a pop fly that dropped in front of the Basalt right fielder.
Nine straight Huskies reached base to open the inning – they all scored. Garth scored on an error and Simpson came up with his second hit and third RBI of the inning before Scherer was able to induce a strikeout and flyout to end the marathon inning.
“They hit the ball hard and to every open hole,” Longhorns head coach Craig Frederick said. “It’s hard to be frustrated.”
“It was definitely fun to watch,” Spannagel added. “We’ve put up runs all season. The problem is we don’t have a lot of pitching and our defense has been shaky.”
Battle Mountain (4-15) had no such problems Thursday. They committed just one error, and Duran was nearly unhittable – after some brief early struggles.
Longhorns lead-off hitter Kenny Resch reached on an infield error in the bottom of the first, then advanced to second on Scherer’s double and scored on Tanner Banc’s sacrifice fly, tying the game.
Duran settled down from there, retiring the final three he faced in the first, then the sides in order in each of the next four innings.
“We put a little sophomore out there and asked him to throw strikes,” Spannagel said of Duran. “He went out there and made them put the ball in play.”
Basalt did just that, with limited success. The Longhorns mustered just one hit, popped up to Huskies infielders seven times, struck out three times and hit just three balls out of the infield.
Basalt’s defense was not much better. It committed five errors two of which led to runs in the second and fourth innings. Jones added an RBI single in the fourth to give Battle Mountain a 3-1 cushion. He and Simpson combined for five hits, six RBIs and three runs scored.
Those numbers added up to a 13th loss in 15 games this season for Basalt, which travels to Gunnison for a doubleheader Saturday.
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