Schoon, Longhorns rout rival Aspen on diamond
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – Basalt starter Kyp Schoon wiggled out of quite a jam in the top of the first inning Tuesday, inducing a groundout from Aspen’s Jake Nugent to strand runners at first and third.
“Once he got out of that, we were able to take a breath,” Longhorns coach Mike Hoffman said. “The guys were a little tense.”
They loosened up in a hurry against their upvalley rivals – especially with the bats. Schoon drilled a two-run home run off Skiers starter Daniel Munger during a three-run bottom of the first, and Basalt never looked back.
Behind solid pitching from Schoon and balanced hitting, the Longhorns cruised to an 11-1 victory in a game shortened to six innings because of the mercy rule.
“I think it was more about their sticks than anything – they hit us harder than any team has all year,” Aspen coach Nate Grinzinger said. “They put up those runs early, and we started pressing a little bit.”
The Skiers generated little offense off Schoon, who retired the side in order in the second and allowed just three total baserunners in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
He scattered three hits and struck out five in five innings.
The Basalt bats gave him more than enough insurance – a porous Skiers defense helped by committing six errors.
Three of those fielding miscues came in a second inning in which the Longhorns struck for two runs to stretch their lead to five. Austin Vannice reached on an infield error and scored on a passed ball, then Blake Scherer drove in a run with a ringing single to center field.
Vannice scored on an error in the third, then Tanner Banc hit a RBI single as Basalt seized control of the game.
“The top of the order was hitting the ball well, and the bottom of the order was getting on base,” Hoffman said. “We had a great practice [Monday], and that helped. … I think we’re back on track.”
Three days after dropping both games of a road doubleheader against Grand Valley, Basalt had six players notch at least one hit and one run scored Tuesday.
Scherer led the way with two hits and three RBI. He drove in two with a double to the right-center gap in the Longhorns’ two-run fifth inning.
After the Skiers plated their lone run on an obstruction call in the sixth, the Basalt bats put this game out of reach in the bottom of the frame. Gaige Rodriguez singled and scored on an error, then No. 8 hitter Nick Montalbano lined a Taylor Mayer offering into left field, driving in Vannice with the game-clinching run.
“To come out right off the bat and score a few runs, it got the team really pumped up,” Schoon said. “That was some of the best hitting we’ve had all season. … When we are playing solid ball like that, we really have no problems.”
Christian De La Cruz hit a double and Quinn Morehead and Lamont Gross each produced singles for Aspen, which plays a doubleheader at Cedaredge on Thursday.
The Longhorns host Roaring Fork at 11 a.m. Saturday.
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