Strong pitching, solid defense and key hits enabled Englewood to post a 5-4 win over Weld County in April 9 league baseball action.
“This was a big win for us,” Pirates coach Tim Mitchell said after the game. “Our kids have been working hard and playing hard but we had only won two games up to today.”
The first-year coach said the goal is to build a strong baseball program at Englewood and a big focus in practice is working on fundamentals.
“We have kids working hard at the game and there has been a lot of improvement in how we play baseball,” he said. “Of course, numbers are an issue because we have kids who have grade issues. We also want to help create a strong youth baseball (program). A strong youth baseball program is essential as they help develop players who come in to play good baseball for the high school.”
The win raises the Pirates’ record to 3-7 overall and 3-4 in league.
Englewood went on the road for a rematch with Weld Central April 11 and they were on the road at Jefferson on April 17. The Pirates return home April 21 for a game against Kennedy and are at home again on April 25 against Vista Peak.
Home games are played at Harry Wise Field located to the north of the high school as part of the Hosanna Sports Complex. The games are open to the public and there is no charge for admission.
The April 9 Englewood-Weld Central game started off as a pitcher’s duel. The Pirates got on the scoreboard first as they scratched out an unearned run to take a 1-0 advantage in the second inning.
Weld County returned the favor, scoring a pair of runs in the fourth inning to take the 2-1 advantage.
Englewood got something going in the bottom of the fourth as the Pirates loaded the bases. The coach sent Gerardo Gutierrez to the plate to pinch hit and he came through driving the ball to left field. The left fielder misplayed the ball so three runs scored. The inning ended with the next batter and Gutierrez on second but the Pirates now had the lead, 4-2.
Gutierrez stayed in the game and, in the sixth inning, drove a double to left field that sent a teammate across the plate to up the Pirates advantage to 5-2.
Weld Central mounted a rally in the top of the seventh inning. A home run and a well-placed base hit scored two run to make the score 5-4. The Rebels loaded the bases with two outs but the Pirates responded, got the final out and won the game.
Brian Schrock went the distance on the mound for Englewood. He threw a total of 77 pitches, allowed seven hits and struck out seven.
“I had my fastball working well today and I was able to locate pitches up and away in the strike zone,” Schrock said after the game. “I was worried in the last inning but I was really tired. This wasn’t my longest time on the mound but it was very warm and I was throwing hard. By the last inning, I had trouble catching my breath. But my teammates backed me, got the outs and we got the win.”
The senior said he started playing the game when he was a small child.
“My grandpa put a baseball and a bat in my hand when I was a little kid so it is like I have always been around baseball,” he said. “I love the game. I play outfield when I’m not pitching but I like pitching the best. I have several pitches I use. I want to continue to play ball so I want to work on locating my curveball better and to have more confidence in my change-up.”
Gutierrez said he was late getting to the ballpark so he sat on the bench instead of going to his regular position as the starting catcher.
He smiled and he said he was nervous when the coach had him come off the bench to pinch hit with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth inning.
“I wasn’t warmed up and I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I saw the umpire had a low strike zone and I didn’t like that but just had to accept it. I felt a lot of pressure. I was looking for a fastball and I saw it coming to the spot where I could get the barrel of the bat on the ball so I could drive in some runs.”
He said he made solid contact in both at bats. The senior said he felt he made a good swing both times and was able to drive the ball deep for a pair of doubles.
“This was a league game and a big win for our team,” he said. “Our team did very well today and I am proud of them.”