By Ben Rossi

On a warm rocky mountain night at Scott Carpenter Park, the Boulder Collegians ushered in a new season of play, making their Mile High Collegiate Baseball League debut. The Collegians defeated the Denver Browns in an entertaining but lopsided 15-4 victory.

The night started out with a grim reminder of the tragic events of the King Soopers shooting in Boulder from a couple months ago that left 10 dead. The pre-game ceremony included a reading of the 10 names, a moment of silence for the victims, followed by a ceremonial first pitch thrown out by Boulder detective Aaron Brunn, for his heroic efforts.

The ceremony also paid tribute to Boulder Officer Eric Talley, who lost his life for his heroic efforts as the first police officer to respond to the shooting. The 51-year-old father of seven is going to be honored this season with his police badge number 295 being worn on the back of the Collegians hats.

The community in Boulder gathered to see what has been a historic ballclub. This team has hosted the likes of several baseball legends including Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, World Series Champion Joe Carter, and current MLB managers Joe Maddon and Terry Francona.

The visiting Browns took an early 1-0 lead when the Collegians walked in a run, but they quickly responded with two runs in the bottom of the first on RBI singles from Theo Dopkins and Grayson Gifford. After this lead, there was no looking back. The Collegians stretched their lead through timely contact hitting and aggressive, but smart baserunning. They also capitalized on several Browns fielding mistakes.

The first home run of the season came in the bottom of the sixth, on a two run bomb to left center by infielder Jon Jon Gazdar. This put the Collegians up 9-1.

The Collegians pitchers managed to keep the Browns off the scoreboard throughout the game. But in the top of the 7th inning (the game’s final inning) the Browns scored three runs, thanks to two dropped infield pop flies and a throwing error. This was where the early season rust factor came into play.

Nonetheless, the Collegians gave their fans a major victory in their first game back and in their Mile High Collegiate League debut. They showed the Boulder community on Friday night that they too are Boulder Strong.