Cole, two Aspen baseball teammates garner honorable mention |

Cole, two Aspen baseball teammates garner honorable mention

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen TimesAspen's Anderson Cole works against Roaring Fork on May 4 in Carbondale.

ASPEN – Talk about respect.

Aspen pitcher Anderson Cole appeared in just seven games this spring after working his way back onto the mound following offseason MCL surgery. His statistics were modest, too – especially compared to those he put up in 2009, when he was named 3A Western Slope player of the year.

Still, when it came time to vote on postseason awards, league coaches found a place for the hard-throwing senior.

Cole recently garnered All-Conference honorable mention recognition, an accolade he shared with teammates Walker Moriarty and Taylor Mayer and Basalt’s Blake Scherer, Kyp Schoon and Scott Hoffman.

“He’s not short on respect in this league,” Skiers head coach Nate Grinzinger said of Cole. “Everyone knows what he’s capable of.”

Cole burst onto the scene in 2009, when he allowed just two earned runs in 45 innings – good for a .33 ERA – amassed a 7-0 record and propelled Aspen to a district-tournament upset of then sixth-ranked Denver Christian.

While he was not as dominant this season, Cole was still the Skiers’ unquestioned No. 1. He compiled a 4-2 record, a 1.22 ERA and struck out 35 in 34 1/3 innings of work.

Cole looked every bit like an ace in May 4’s game in Carbondale, when he pitched nine consecutive scoreless innings of relief to help the Skiers pull out a 7-3 win over Roaring Fork and inch closer to a playoff berth.

After Cole’s return, the Skiers (8-12) closed with six wins in their final nine games.

“We didn’t have him for [more than half] the season, but we don’t go to the playoffs without him,” Grinzinger said. “As far as this program’s come, we don’t go to the playoffs either year without Anderson.

“It’ll take a long time before Aspen runs into a pitcher like Anderson Cole.”

Replacing Moriarty will be no small task, either. The senior led the team in batting average (.436), on-base percentage (.523) and steals (11), and tied Mayer with 18 RBI.

He also compiled a 2-0 record as a pitcher.

“He’s such a great athlete,” Grinzinger said. “He’s a kid that joins us four weeks late every year [because of basketball], and its a credit to his talent to come in and be 1,000 swings short of everybody and still do this.”

Had it not been for Roaring Fork catcher Jake Strack-Loertscher’s breakout season – the junior hit .600, homered nine times and drove in 42 runs – Mayer likely would’ve been a first-team All-Conference selection for a second straight year.

The junior led the squad with seven home runs and 25 hits.

“He’s been my all-around guy … for the past few years. He’s definitely our captain,” Grinzinger said. “Offensively, he kept doing it with big hits all year, and he had as many RBI as anyone else on the team as a lead-off hitter. He’s just a gamer.”