By Ben Rossi
Will the real Collegians please stand up? The Mile High Collegiate Baseball League’s two Collegians of Boulder and Spradley went head-to-head for the first time on Friday. Each team certainly wanted to prove they were the superior of the two with that name. Like Wednesday against the Lumberjacks, the Boulder Collegians got two shutout pitching performances from their starters to sweep the doubleheader matchup.
Theo Dopkins took the mound for Boulder in Game 1. Despite giving off a leadoff base hit in 4-of-the-five innings he pitched, Dopkins escaped each inning without any run damage by retiring the next Spradley hitters each inning. He also lacked run support in the first two innings but knew that his job was just to continue to bear down and do his job, even if he did not have his best stuff on the night.
Dopkins effectively located his fastball and curveball striking out six hitters while not allowing a single walk.
“I always have a lot of confidence with my fastball especially when you see those guys that I’m just blowing away,” said Dopkins on his fastball use. “I don’t think it had its liveliness that it’s had in the past but like I said that’s when you have to bear down, hit your spots, and then get yourself in good counts to put guys away.”
Dopkins ability to shutdown Spradley was eventually rewarded with run support in the third. Leadoff hitting center fielder Ryan Vogel got the offensive spree started. After doubling in Nick Upstill to give Boulder a 1-o lead, he showed off his wheels on the base paths by running home on a double steal. This was one of Vogel’s three stolen bases in the game. The rest of the lineup picked Vogel up as they broke through in the fourth with five runs off Spradley’s Marcus Casados. Seventh place hitter Sean Dee led off the inning with a home run. The rest of the runs all came with two outs as Boulder batted through their entire order that inning.
It seemed that Mother Nature and the Boulder Collegians had similar plans when the fifth inning rolled around. Following a two-run RBI double to right by Brady Miguel, the rain began a heavy plunge onto the field. Luckily Game 1 had just finished thanks to the 8-run after five innings mercy rule as the hit by Miguel gave Boulder a 9-0 victory
Again Boulder got a solid pitching performance in the second game and again timely hitting and base running helped seal their fate offensively. Starter Carter Heninger pitched five innings striking out seven hitters while allowing just one run. Garret Jensen and Lucas Quezada finished off Spradley in innings six and seven to seal Boulder’s 6-1 Game 2 victory.
The Collegians have been on a tear lately, especially coming off a thrilling inter-league series where they beat a strong team in Fort Hays Kansas.
“Once we went up to Hays and saw some good guys it’s really helped with our team mechanics and playing small-ball better” said Heninger.
The Collegians mastered small-ball in Game 2 as they stole six bases as a team while all their RBI’s came on either sacrifice flies or singles. The team’s strong pitching and performances on the base-paths can be attributed to the great chemistry and trust within the team.
“Every time it goes to my defense I feel really good about it,” Heninger added. “Lots of trust within our team.”
Dopkins also attributed the trust in his team as a factor for his Game 1 success specifically catcher Lane Oliphant.
“I have to give that up to my catcher having confidence in that pitch and not letting me shy away from it and trusting in it” said Dopkins on his confidence to throw his curveball.
The Boulder Collegians will look to continue all these working factors as they face off against a strong Thunder Academy lineup at Legacy High School on Wednesday.