Eagles edge Titans in slugfest

Heritage-Legend baseball game a back-and-forth affair

Heritage sophomore Billy Moreland slides into home as Legend's Zacki Viaanderen (15) jumps over him during the April 11 game. The run Moreland scored helped the Eagles win the game, 13-11. Photo by Tom Munds
Teammates congratulate Dalton Thorpe (right) after he hit a three-run home in the April 11 game against Legend. The blast helped the Eagles win the game, 13-11. Photo by Tom MundsS
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The Heritage and Legend April 11 Continental League baseball game began as a pitcher's duel but turned into a slugfest the Eagles finally won, 13-11.

The first three innings, pitching was in the spotlight. But, from that point forward, it seemed one team would surge ahead and then the other team would stage a comeback. The game's winner wasn't assured until the Eagles recorded the third out for Legend in the final inning.

“This is a very young team so there will be games like this,” said Eagles Coach Scott Hormann. “Our team strength is our enthusiasm and our ability to never give up. We know we are going to be there if we keep battling.”

Legend Coach Scott Fellers had similar comments about his own team, which scrapped together five runs in the final inning to trim a seven-run deficit to two.

“We don't quit. It's how we play baseball,” he said.

The win raises the Heritage record to 3-8 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Eagles traveled to play Regis April 14 and were on the road against Castle View April 16. They return home April 18 for a game against Rock Canyon before heading back on the road April 21 to play ThunderRidge.

The Titans (4-7, 1-2) continued league play at home against Douglas County April 14 and then played Rock Canyon April 16 at Double Angel Field. Legend returns home April 18 for a game against Mountain Vista and hosts Regis on April 21.

Legend got off to a good start in the April 11 game at Heritage as they used a single, a sacrifice bunt and let the trailing runner get caught in a run down to score a run and go up 1-0. Tom Skufca's single in the bottom of the fourth inning tied the score at 1-1.

The tie vanished in the top of the fifth when the Titans got a two-run double from Jordan Stephens, a two-run homer from Greg Pickett and a solo homer from Kyle Morse to go up 6-1.

The lead didn't last long as Heritage mounted a six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Casey Opitz and Skufca each had an RBI single, a run scored on a throwing error and Dalton Thorpe hit a three-run homer to help put the Eagles up, 7-6.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles struck again behind a handful of walks and RBI hits from Mikey Griebel, Owen Reynolds and Vince Rowe to widen the lead to 13-6.

Stephens tripled for the Titans to start the top of the seventh and then scored on an infield grounder by Pickett. A trio of walks loaded the bases for Legend and, with two outs Carter King blasted a bases-clearing triple. The game ended on a fly ball in the next at bat.

“I think I have a few more gray hairs after today's game,” Hormann said. “I guess I have to expect a few like this with a team this young. Our pitcher and catcher today were freshmen and we had four sophomores in the field. The good thing is our juniors and seniors are contributing and providing leadership for us.”

Fellers said his team is made up primarily of juniors.

“I think our strength is a strong defense when our pitchers throw strikes so the ball is put in play,” he said. “We'll compete every time we go on the field and next week, our goal is to come out of it with three wins and we feel we can achieve that goal.”