Following the victory on Thursday night over Pueblo County, the Lamar Savage baseball team turned their focus to their first Tri-Peaks East doubleheader of the season, a road trip to Rye for a match-up with the Thunderbolts at Greenhorn Meadows Park. In both games, the Savages broke open close games with strong late inning production. Rye, in just their second season playing 3A baseball, having moved up after dominating Class 2A in recent years, gave the Savages everything they could handle most of the way.
Game 1: #2 Lamar 14, Rye 7
In the first game, Lamar took advantage of early miscues by the Thunderbolt defense to score four runs on two hits in the top of the first. In the bottom half, Savage senior starting pitcher Colton Eberhardt walked the first two hitters he faced but worked around it with a pair of strikeouts to keep Rye off the board.
In the third, junior outfielder Austin Sneller singled home two to give the Savages a 6-0 lead. The Thunderbolts’ bats awoke in the bottom half, tallying three runs plus one more in the fourth to draw within 6-4. Head Coach Jason Veyna inserted sophomore Dylan McTaggart to get the final two outs of the fourth. He induced an inning-ending double play turned by junior infielder Max Carere.
The play turned the momentum back to Lamar and the Savages scored five runs in the top of the fifth to restore a sizable lead. Rye did put up three runs off McTaggart in the sixth but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Savages won 14-7 in a game filled with errors. The Thunderbolts were charged with eight errors and the Savages four. Each team left ten runners on base.
Eberhardt was credited with the win, having struck out nine in 3.1 innings. Offensively, he and Carere each collected a pair of hits and junior Addison Morales drove in three runs.
Game 2: #2 Lamar 16, Rye 2
Given how ugly the first game was played at times, it was refreshing to see a much cleaner contest in game two. Both teams shored up their defensive play and the starting pitchers each held the opposing offense in check, until the Savages broke through late.
Senior outfielder Andres Guevara plated Carere with a sacrifice fly to put Lamar ahead 1-0 in the first. But for the next couple of innings, Lamar hitters were a step or two behind Rye pitcher Austin Gookin who mixed in several off-speed pitches to his advantage.
Rye took a 2-1 lead when Robert Buford singled home a pair of runners with two outs in the second. Outside of that, senior starting pitcher Davin Jacobs, having only tossed a total of six innings all season coming in to the game, was outstanding on the hill. The top of the Rye batting order, which had given Lamar pitching quite a bit of trouble in the first game, was shut down by Jacobs who also did a great job mixing up his arsenal of pitches and throwing strikes.
The Lamar offense just needed to find a way to get going against Gookin. Guevara doubled and scored on a single from senior first baseman Dalton Chandler to tie the game 2-2 in the fourth.
Then in the fifth, Gookin began to fight his control. He walked Sneller and hit junior Kameron Farmer and then fired a wild pitch to get those two into scoring position. With two outs, Carere stepped up to the plate…
From that point on, it was all Savages. They scored three runs in the sixth and took a 7-2 lead to the seventh. Lamar immediately loaded the bases and Rye went to relief pitcher Dusty Rochester. Four singles, two doubles and a sac fly later, the Savages had a 16-2 lead. Senior Lucas Watson threw a scoreless seventh to end the game and give Lamar (11-1) their first two league victories of the season.
In game two, five Savages had two hits each including Guevara who doubled twice and scored three runs. Chandler drove in three. In six innings on the mound, Jacobs only allowed two hits and two unearned runs. He struck out seven.
It’s another quick turnaround for Lamar as they will host the St. Mary’s Pirates (3-7) in a league doubleheader at Merchants Park on Monday, with the first game to start at 3:00 pm.
Tri-Peaks East Division Standings
La Junta 3-0, 9-2 overall
Lamar 2-0, 11-1 overall
St. Mary’s 2-0, 3-7 overall
Rye 2-4, 7-5 overall
Trinidad 0-5, 1-8 overall