BY NICK ROBINSON
JOHNSTOWN — The reigning MHCBL champion Colorado Cyclones took off where they left things a season ago, with a 5-3 and 8-2 sweep of the Greeley Grays on Thursday evening at Nelson Farm in the league’s season opener.
“When I haven’t seen a lot of our guys play yet, it makes it tough to judge things,” Cyclones head coach J.L. Buchanan said. “Once we settle down and realize the caliber of pitching, we have, things will start to settle down.”
The first game went scoreless into the fifth inning, where Colorado (2-0) erupted for four runs.
However, Greeley (0-2) answered back, with three runs of their own.
“I think this team is much improved from where they were last season,” Grays head coach Tony Rouco said. “So, I am happy with the performance. It’s going to take some time to figure things out.”
A sacrifice fly RBI in the sixth inning clinched the triumph in game one for the Cyclones.
“First game is always a weird one,” Buchanan said. “No one knows each other and how they play. We are younger in the infield this year, and we are usually an older position player team.”
Foster Gifford (3 IP, 4 K’s) picked up the victory for Colorado. Jake Haze (2-3, RBI) and Quinn Tomasino (2-4, RBI) led the offensive surge for the Cyclones.
Von Aulger (4.1 IP, 5 K’s) dropped the decision for Greeley. Luke Vargas (1-3, RBI) had one of the four hits for the Grays.
“I was really happy with the first game,” Rouco said. “We threw the ball very well and our approach was solid at the plate.”
In game two of the twin bill, Colorado hopped on seven runs in the first five innings of play.
“Game two, we had more energy,” Buchanan said. “People settled down and were talking more. We took advantage of some errors they made and when that happens, we’re a tough team to beat.”
The Grays were able to put together some momentum in the sixth inning, with two runs. But it wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.
“One throw led to another bad throw in the second game,” Rouco said. “But it’s early in the season and those things will get cleaned up.”
JT Mossberg (3.1 IP, 7 K’s) earned the victory for the Cyclones. Offensively, Colorado was powered by Matt Siedem (2-4, 2 RBI’s).
“I feel great about our pitching,” Buchanan said. “We are still missing four of our top arms. This is the best pitching staff I have had in five years.”
Jamian Lamphere (2 IP, 3 K’s) was credited with the loss for Greeley. Trey McClelland (2-3, 2 RBI’s) steered the Grays’ offense.
“I think we need to work on our approaches at the plate,” Rouco said. “We went away from that in the second game.”
Colorado travels to Legacy High School to face Thunder Academy on June 5, while Greeley faces Prime Academy at Overton High School on May 30.
“I have to work with the younger guys on hitting and the older guys that have been out for a while,” Buchanan said. “That’s just the main thing. Our defense was there all day, and our pitching will be here all summer. Once we get the bats going and figure out how to use our hitters in situations, we will be fine.”
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