By Ben Rossi
Wednesday afternoon gave a small taste of what should be an entertaining season series between the Colorado Lumberjacks and Spradley Collegians, one that will conclude next Wednesday night in Pueblo. Wednesday night’s game will mark a special event for the league as it will be dollar beer night in Pueblo, an event expected to draw a good chunk of the community out there.
Going into the game, these two teams sat neck-and-neck at third and fourth place in the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League’s standings. While the Colorado Lumberjacks lit up the scoreboard with 16 runs on the day, the Collegians offense did not make matters easy for them. They too had a big day, putting up 10 runs while totaling 14 hits. The 14 hits were even more then the Lumberjacks 12 hits despite being outscored by six.
The game initially looked to be getting out of hand in the first two innings when the Lumberjacks took an early 7-0 lead. This was thanks in large part to a three-run homer off the scoreboard in left by Colton Chase, for his second long ball of the summer. The Collegians responded with a two-out rally in the bottom half of the second, that saw a series of good two strike at bats. This was followed by their ability to capitalize on fielding errors by the Lumberjacks and make the score 7-4.
The Collegians being in striking distance was short-lived however. In the next inning the Lumberjacks too capitalized on errors and put up a six spot to take a commanding 13-4 lead.
After the Collegians added two runs in the next inning, it looked as though the game was going to be over in the fifth by 10-run mercy rule. But with two outs and the bases empty, the Collegians rallied to score three runs in the inning. The first two came on a pinch-hit two out two strike RBI double by Roenikk Hernandez to score two and avoid the mercy rule.
The Collegians again avoided a mercy rule in the top of the seventh. Going into the inning they were down 16-8. They needed to score one in order to avoid an eight run after seven inning mercy rule. Again they found themselves in a hole with two outs and the bases empty. But again they managed to avoid an abrupt early end to the game, thanks this time to a two-out RBI double by third baseman Brock Rodrigues.
Despite a couple of comeback scares by a potent Collegians offense, the Lumberjacks offense exploded to provide pitchers Ty Smith and Gabe Atkins with enough cushion to walk away with a 16-10 victory. While the score might have looked rather one-sided, the fight in the Collegians made the game anything but.
These two clubs should put up another entertaining matchup in the doubleheader on dollar beer night.