Two teams, on one field, had one shared destiny; being the top team by the end of the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League season to punch their ticket to the NBC World Series in Wichita. On Friday night however, there was more at stake for these two teams. They were battling it out at Scott Carpenter field, their shared home turf for the season. With a busy week of baseball ahead in Colorado, each team was determined to prove themselves as the superior Boulder team in the season series.
Going into the doubleheader the 14ers had won the previous game played in the series by the score of 7-4. But that was over a month ago towards the beginning of the season. The first place Collegians were determined to take the series. They have been on an offensive tear as of late. They were coming off a staggering 33-2 victory over Thunder Academy on Wednesday.
“I think our offense needs to wake up a little bit,” Collegians outfielder Nick Upstill said on his teams keys to rebounding against the 14ers. “Last game our offense clearly woke up so we’re staying positive and I think it’s gonna be a whole different outcome this game.”
Despite the determination, the victory would not be easy as their depth was stretched thin; thin to the point that they would be playing without a designated hitter.
The offense not only woke up but made some noise that the Home Run Derby event on Monday night at Coors field might want to take a look at. Third baseman Alec Ackerman got the bashing started with a two-run homer to left in the top of the third to give the Collegians a 3-2 lead.
There was no looking back for the Collegians for the rest of the night. The next inning Brady Miguel began what was a big couple of games by hitting a long ball opposite field.
As if the third and fourth inning bats were not already loud enough for the Collegians, the next inning they made even more noise. This started a bomb by none other then the pitcher Michael Potter. On a first pitch hanging inside Potter crushed a no-doubter moon shot to right field.
“I was looking for fastball cause I’m a pitcher,” said Potter. “I saw the ball, felt very good just swung, it felt amazing. First ever home run.”
Is it the year of the hitting pitcher or has Shohei Ohtani magic just glided over the game of baseball for good? Either way, in an All Star weekend that is expected to be filled with long ball action, the Collegians just put on a powerful hitting display of their own that could be heard all the way down to Coors field, by baseball’s best.
The long ball did not stop there. Nick Upstill stayed true to his pregame goals of the offense waking up. He followed Potter’s long ball with an encore, one that traveled to nearly the same location out in right to make the score 12-2. This was also his third hit of the game. Potter also shined on the mound, effectively working his two-seam and four-seam fastballs along with his changeup to keep the 14ers grounded and mercy rule them 13-3 after five innings.
Game 2 starter Carter Heninger also used a good mix of pitches. He showed off his intensity and intimidation on the mound with his speedy fastball along with his overpowering breaking pitches. This got the 14ers whiffing and watching pitches cluelessly as he struck out six through five innings of work.
While the long ball wasn’t there in Game 2, the Collegains found other ways to manufacture runs via small ball as they have all season long. They emerged victorious 8-3 as Brady Miguel capped off a big night at the plate with a three-hit game.
“We’re just out here trying to have some fun,” said Miguel on his team’s ability to continuously put up big offensive numbers one night after another. “We all have each other’s backs. We’re just out hunting the ball and seeing it well right now”
The collective chemistry and enthusiasm that has carried the team in their success this season was certainly seen on the field on Friday night, as they won the season series 2-games-1 over their Boulder counterparts. They have another set of exciting games ahead two including a special one in Alaska.