Colorado Freeskier’s streak comes to an end
The Wildcards and the Bearcats squared off in men’s league slow pitch softball action on Thursday, July 3 at Tommy V Field.
The Wildcards are a collection of men’s league and coed all-stars from days past. It was a time when there were as many as 10 teams in the men’s league. And, it was a time when games were often decided at Pitsker Field by who could hit the most home runs, which, more often than not, was the Hills Brothers.
The Bearcats are a team of 20-somethings, most of whom were born and raised in Crested Butte and spent their summers watching their fathers play on said Hills Brothers.
The Bearcats handed the Wildcards a 19-15 loss tying them in first place.
The Bearcats opened up a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, when David Jelinek drove Jeff Snyder home with a single and Joe Wright stroked a two-RBI single to center.
The lead was quickly erased and then some when the Wildcards stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first, knocking in five runs on five hits and a couple of errors.
Eric “Turbo” Ervin started it off with an RBI single to shallow center followed by a two- RBI triple from Mark Schellhorn.
Reed Meredith tapped an RBI single to right and an errant toss to first base on a ground ball allowed one more Wildcard to score, to take a two-run lead.
That lead soon disappeared as well when a double by Nick Catmur down the third base line drove in two runs and singles from Jackson Cooper, the first local kid to clear the fence at Tommy V Field in baseball, and Nathan Lacy put the Bearcats back on top 8-5.
The Bearcats defense held the Wildcards scoreless in the bottom of the second inning opening up an opportunity to build on their three-run lead in the top of the third inning.
Their bats came through as a Wildcards error put a runner on base and Robbie Vandervoort brought him home with a double.
Consecutive base hits loaded the bases for Snyder and Snyder responded, much like his father, Joe, often did for the Hills Brothers, snapping a two-RBI double up the middle. Cooper stepped up next to swat a two- RBI line drive double to left, building a 13-5 Bearcats lead.
Lacy stepped to the plate and crushed a deep shot to left center destined for extra bases, only to have Reed “Wheels” Meredith chase it down for the grab at the warning track shutting off the valve on the Bearcats offensive deluge.
Schellhorn kick started a brief offensive surge from the Wildcards with a solo inside the park home run (ITPHR) to the gap in straightaway center. James Kontos swatted an RBI double down the first base line and Reed Schaub cracked a two- RBI single to close the Bearcats’ lead down to four runs.
The Wildcards continued to chip away at the Bearcats’ lead, scoring three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Schellhorn led the charge once again, accounting for all three runs, driving in two with a double up the middle and scoring amidst a brief state of confusion among the Bearcats infielders.
With their lead cut down to one run, the Bearcats resolved themselves to stretching for any and all extra bases available. So much so that Lacy turned a base hit that barely left the infield into a three-run ITPHR to create a five-run cushion.
Lacy then stole the show in the top of the fifth inning with a tremendous play in centerfield. Both teams suffered their fair share of errors throughout the game but Lacy’s play made up for it for the Bearcats.
A two-out rally by the Wildcards had cut the Bearcats lead down to three runs with a man on second base looking to keep the momentum going. Ervin stepped up and blooped a hit to shallow center but Lacy charged in on the ball and lunged mid-stride for an incredible backhanded grab to stop the Wildcards dead in their tracks.
Wildcard third baseman Schaub rivaled Lacy’s play when he leaped up to pull down a line drive down the third base line and stepped on the bag for a double play in the top of the sixth inning.
The Wildcards looked to rally off of Schaub’s play for a late game comeback but Wright and Snyder connected for a play at second base to end the game and preserve the 19-15 Bearcats win.
Unfortunately, due to familial obligations I was forced to leave before a landmark event occurred in the second men’s league game that night between the Colorado Freeskier and the Hooligans.
The Hooligans team is new to men’s league and is a collection of former local Babe Ruth baseball champions.
The Freeskier has dominated men’s league play for the past three years, stringing 27 wins in a row, including three men’s league titles.
The Hooligans tapped some of their youthful exuberance and winning ways from the Babe Ruth days to put an end to the Freeskier winning streak, handing them a 16-9 loss.
To catch men’s league action, swing by Tommy V Field Thursday evenings for games at 5 and 6:30 p.m.