GREELEY — Playing nearly the equivalent of two nine-inning games in a matter of six hours may have led to exhaustion and definitely depleted the bullpen for the Alamosa Mean Moose as they split in state tournament action here Saturday.
The Maroons opened Saturday morning with a 6-5 win over Colorado Academy in a marathon eleven innings. That followed with a 18-7 loss to Resurrection Christian in six innings that eliminated AHS from the tournament as one of the top six teams and wrapped up a 16-10 campaign.
After building a 5-0 lead over the Academy Mustangs, the Moose let their opponent back into the game with four runs in the fourth frame and one in the fifth. Neither team would score another run until the top of the 11th when Kolten Hillis singled on a 3-1 count to drive in the eventual game-winning run.
The game ended in dramatic fashion as Academy had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the 11th when a short pop fly was hit to left field. Sophomore Tyler Duarte darted towards the ball, made a diving catch and was able to double-up the second base runner to end the tilt.
Both teams had decimated pitching staffs in the elimination game, but Resurrection Christian mounted a 7-0 lead in the top of the first inning and wouldn’t relinquish the lead even though Alamosa battled back in the bottom of the second to make it 8-7. The R.C. Cougars would go on to score 10 more runs while shutting out the Maroons.
Senior Kaden Hardesty started the scoring for AHS against Academy with a solo homer in the first inning and four runs in the second frame led to a 5-0 Moose lead. Batters contributing to the four-run inning were Kason Smith, Hillis and Hardesty, all with RBIs.
Alamosa had a dozen hits in the game with Austin Barrows, Hardesty and Caden Alonzo all having multiple hits. Barrows went four-for-five at the dish in his best offensive performance of the season, while Hardesty finished with three hits. Alonzo and Hardesty ripped doubles to go along with the latter’s dinger.
John Lujan got the start for the Mean Moose, allowing seven hits and four runs over four innings, striking out two. Not only was his bat working, but Barrows hurled the final seven innings to collect the win, giving up one run on nine hits while striking out three, but hit two batters and walked one.
Resurrection Christian, who defeated IML champion Bayfield in the regional final to go to state, used two big innings to put the Moose away, scoring seven runs in each of the first and sixth innings. The Moose collected eight hits in the game, but the Cougars rattled off 13 in the high-scoring affair.
Alamosa’s entire offensive output came in the bottom of the second inning when Barrows, Hillis, Hardesty and Ben Wuckert each had RBIs, including Wuckert’s three-run homer. Alonzo led the Maroons at the plate with a three-for-four effort while Kason Smith contributed two hits.
Duarte led things off on the hill but surrendered 11 runs on nine hits over five innings, striking out two. Wuckert threw one inning out of the bull pen.
The Cougars bats proved too much for AHS as the home team’s pitchers chalked up just two strikeouts.