Granby " MIddle Park baseball team buries Golddiggers 17-2 in final regular season game
Sky-Hi Daily News
In their final regular season baseball game, Middle Park High’s Panthers decisively whipped Clear Creek’s Golddiggers 17-2 in only five innings on Tuesday, April 29.
Held on the Panthers’ home field in Granby, Middle Park’s ballplayers took a strong lead in the first couple of innings. During the remainder of the game, several Panther junior varsity players were brought in by the coaches to gain varsity-game experience and to help polish off the contest.
“We had beaten the Golddiggers pretty bad earlier in the season,” said coach James Newberry. “Our plan was to give everybody a chance to play and to see how next year’s team can play.”
After holding Clear Creek scoreless at the top of the first inning, Middle Park’s batters quickly went to work in the bottom of that inning, racking up a seven-run lead.
The Panthers’ Ian Sutton was the first man on base with a walk, followed by Mike Zieff who singled and then stole second base. Brian Moore then walked to load the bases.
The first run was scored when P.J. Cross walked to push Sutton across home plate.
With the bases still loaded, Joey Coucke then belted a single deep into the outfield to drive in both Zieff and Moore.
Middle Park’s first-inning scoring spree continued when Chad Sprague stepped to the plate and blasted his sixth home run of the season over the outfield fence. His homer also drove in Cross and Coucke.
But if you thought that was it, you would have been wrong because Mike Stefanski then came up to bat and blasted a solo home run to score the team’s seventh run of the first inning.
“We thought those seven runs were a really good start,” Newberry said.
At the top of the second inning, Clear Creek’s offense started to show some life, scoring two runs on Middle Park errors. Recovering, Middle Park’s batters came back for revenge at the bottom of that inning and regained their seven-run lead by scoring two more runs.
Once again, Sutton got things going by batting a single and then stealing two bases.
He was then driven in to score by a double belted by Zieff, who then made it to third base on a past ball. Zieff did not remain there long because Moore hit a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed him to tag off and sprint across home plate.
Beginning the third inning with the score 9-2, Middle Park’s coaches decided it was time to “clear the bench” of the majority of the varsity players and bring in several JVs.
After that transition, Middle Park’s offense remained quiet in the third inning with the Panthers’ bats unable to connect with the ball until the fourth inning. But when they did, it turned into a scoring bonanza that earned eight more runs and won the game.
Zieff began that decisive scoring drive by getting on base with a walk, stealing second base and then sprinting home to score on a single batted by freshman Mitch Franek. It was followed by Jordan Reynolds blasting a triple into the outfield to score Franek. Reynolds soon followed him to homeplate after sophomore Greg Doudna hit a single to drive him in.
To keep the momentum going, Doudna stole second base, and then sprinted home to score as Coucke got on base from an error. Coucke then advanced to second base on a steal and finally sprinted home on a single hit by sophomore Matt Hydrusko.
The Panthers’ fourth-inning batting blitz continued with sophomore Shelby Garrett earning an RBI by batting in Hydrusko with a triple that bounced off the center field fence. Sutton then stepped to the plate where he hit a solid single that drove in Garrett. Sutton rounded out Middle Park’s scoring by sprinting home on a fielding error by Clear Creek’s shortstop.
At the top of the fifth inning, Middle Park’s defense held firm and prevented any more runs by the Golddiggers. Because the score now stood at 17-2, the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 10-run “mercy rule” went into effect, ending further play with Middle Park being declared the winner.
“Our pitching staff did a good job in that game,” Newberry said. “They allowed only one hit and one walk while giving up just two unearned runs.”
Moore and Zieff each pitched a couple of innings. Making his debut appearance as a pitcher, Sutton struck out Clear Creek’s final batter.
“It was a fun day for our seniors, and the game gave us the chance to showcase next year’s team,” Newberry said.
The Panthers ended their regular season with an overall 13-6 record as well as a league record of 10-6. They had earned fourth-place ranking in the Metro League for the 2008 season.
Note: Middle Park High’s baseball team went on to end their season of competition in the second round of the district playoffs. The game story will be published later this week in the Sky-Hi Daily News.
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