The Olathe Pirates were full of confidence heading into Saturday's 3A District 3 baseball tournament at Hotchkiss. They'd finished the season with a 14-5 record and in third place in the Western Slope League.
Their season started off slow, but ended with a seven-game win streak, culminating in two big wins over Cedaredge. "Those were the two best games we played all year," said pitcher Willy Corey. "That was a great confidence-builder."
That the Pirates have experience in 11 seniors who had grown up playing ball together was also a confidence-builder. "I have a great defense backing me," said Corey.
Olathe had split a doubleheader against Hotchkiss, and knew that the tournament, that included No. 20 Peak to Peak (12-7) and No. 29 Centauri (7-12), would likely come down to the two local teams.
The Pirates' main concern was Bulldog pitcher Edgar Macias. "We know what kind of pitching they have," said Pirates head coach Darren Sofka. "But you don't know what to expect in this kind of situation."
In the opening game, the Bulldogs held off 29th-seeded Centauri after the Falcons scored two runs in the top of the seventh, with the tying run on second and the winning run on first. But Macias threw a strike out to end the game at 3-2. It should have been an easy win. It was a case of first-game jitters, said head coach Jason Yantzer. "Not bad, but they didn't play to their full potential."
The Pirates overcame a 2-run deficit to score 13 runs in the fourth and defeat Peak to Peak, 15-5.
In the final game, Olathe held a 2-1 lead after the first, with Bulldog Jacobe Galley sprinting from second to home on a single by Edgar Macias in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 2.
In the fifth, the Pirates capitalized on Bulldog errors to advance runners to second and third, and scored on a fly ball by Corey to right field. The Bulldog defense failed to communicate, and missed the easy out. Corey scored Ronnie Mumm, and with two outs, Olathe scored two more runs on well-placed hits to the outfield to take a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Pirate Aaron Handke fired up the Pirates with a double that landed just inside the fence.
"That was the turning point, right there," said Corey.
Pinch runner Bryan Leu advanced to third on a passed ball, then tagged on a fly out by Mumm for the final run.
It was those little mistakes that would be the Bulldogs' undoing. At this level, said head coach Jason Yantzer, "The team with the fewest amount of errors, wins."
Yantzer credited his team for a great season and an 18-3 record.
Olathe (16-5) will face No. 5 Trinidad (14-7) this Friday in Greeley.blog comments powered by Disqus