No. 4 Lamar 7, No. 10 Sterling 6 (8 inn)
With Lamar High School on spring break this week, the Savage baseball team made the long trip north to Sterling on Tuesday for their second regular season game. Fans of both teams were quickly reminded of last season’s regional final at Merchants Park, where the Savages walked off 14-13 in eight innings in one of the most dramatic games in recent history for everyone involved. In this meeting early in the 2018 season, the scoring was limited for a while, but the drama didn’t disappoint in the late stages. Lamar lost a three-run lead in the bottom of the 7th, only to regain the lead in the 8th and then they nearly gave it away again, but were able to stave off the Tigers, 7-6 at Tiger Field.
Both teams wasted early chances with the bases loaded. The Savages scored first in the opening inning when senior Dalton Chandler walked with the bases loaded, scoring fellow senior Andres Guevara. In the bottom of the first, Lamar starter Colton Eberhardt fought control, walking the bases loaded, but also did not allow a hit and struck out the side.
Chandler entered in the second and displayed a vicious 91 mph fastball, but also dealt with control issues, walking six batters combined in the second and third innings. Despite not collecting a hit, the Tigers, helped by the free passes took a 2-1 lead to the fourth.
With two outs and two runners on, junior third baseman Max Carere delivered a two-run double to left-center, scoring junior Kameron Farmer and Guevara to give Lamar a 3-2 lead.
Chandler began racking up strikeouts and pitched into the sixth before reaching the pitch count limit of 110. Senior Lucas Watson moved over from shortstop to pitch and struck out Tiger catcher Drew Book to strand the tying run and end the inning.
In the seventh, the Savages picked up a pair of insurance runs as Chandler’s single to left with two outs brought home Carere and senior Davin Jacobs to make it 5-2.
Watson got a fly-out to begin the bottom of the seventh, but then trouble began. Austin Nelson singled to give Sterling it’s first hit of the game, then a pair of walks loaded the bases. A ground-out plated a run before nine-hole hitter Kaeden Sheets singled on a hard grounder into left center to tie the score 5-5. The Tigers had the winning run at third base, but Watson recovered to strike out Grayson Dudley and send the game to extras.
In the eighth, the Savages were able to do more damage with two outs. Jacobs hit a dribbler past the third baseman into left, scoring Guevara. A throwing error from the outfield allowed Watson to score on the play as well, and Lamar led 7-5.
Sterling immediately loaded the bases against Watson in the bottom of the inning, who then struck out Daniel Thiessen for one away. A ground ball to third led to a fielder’s choice and a run came home to make it 7-6. A wild pitch put the tying and winning runs into scoring position, and on a full count, Watson struck out Dustin Ferguson to end the game after three hours and eleven minutes of play.
Lamar (2-0) got multi-hit games from Carere and Jacobs, and the pitching staff combined to strike out 18 batters but also walk 13 while throwing 209 pitches. Sterling (0-1) left 13 runners on base.
The Savages will be back in action this upcoming Friday at the Fowler/Rocky Ford Tournament. Lamar will play at Rocky Ford at 9:30am and shortly thereafter will play Holly. Each team at the event will also play one game on Saturday.