Castle View came up with big hits and Douglas County struggled with little things during this year's “Battle for the Rock.”
The Sabercats scored six runs in the fifth inning to beat their crosstown rival Douglas County, 9-5, April 18 in a Continental League baseball game played at Castle View.
Castle View, which had runners in scoring position in every inning but one, had 12 hits with five coming in the fifth inning when the Sabercats rallied from a 5-3 deficit against the Huskies — who committed four errors in the game.
“It seemed like it was a matter of time before we would break through,” said Castle View coach Shawn Wyss. “We have too good of a hitting ball club to miss out on that.”
Starting and winning pitcher Ben Dalke drove home two of Castle View's three runs in the third inning and then started the fifth inning with a leadoff double.
Trevor Smeeton had a two-run double, Tyler Eickstaedt belted a two-run homer and Kaleb Geiger delivered a run-scoring single in the decisive fifth inning uprising.
“We got some big hits from kids that have been getting big hits for us,” said Wyss. “I couldn't be more proud of Tyler and Trevor getting those big hits and Kaleb Geiger has been on fire the last week or so. It's good that we have multiple kids doing their job.”
Smeeton, who went 3-for-4, is hitting .340 this season and Geiger, a standout football player and wrestler for Castle View, swelled his average to .419 after going 9-for-14 in the past four games.
“He plays the game like he wrestles, like he plays football, he just attacks it,” Wyss said of Geiger. “He's just a phenomenal athlete. Wrestling, football and baseball, we got a lot of mileage out of that kid.”
Besides his two doubles, Dalke pitched seven innings. He was touched for nine hits but allowed only four earned runs and collected both his strikeouts in the seventh inning.
“In the last week he's hit three home runs,” said Wyss, referring to Dalke who leads the team with four homers. “He's been on fire. He pitched a great ballgame that he lost 3-2 to Mountain Vista. He did just enough against Douglas County to overcome some things and we helped him out. It was a good team victory for us.”
Dalke benefitted from the team's fifth inning rally, which he ignited with his double.
“It was big rally,” he said. “That's usually what we want to do, take out the double play, get a double. It was pretty big win. I've been on varsity since my sophomore year and we lost my sophomore and junior years to Douglas County so it's big to win my senior year. It was good for the wildcard standings to get into the playoffs.”
JP Rubino and Austin Pitchford each had two hits to pace Douglas County, while both Pitchford and starting pitcher Brett Minnick each smacked solo home runs.
Minnick struck out seven batters and allowed 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Four of the eight runs off him were unearned.
“We didn't take care of the little things,” said Huskies coach Mark Roberts. “We have a saying that if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. The little things domino and the next thing you know your pitcher is getting his pitch count up. It's a game of little things. It's a game of mistakes. We try to minimize them and sometimes you do a better job than others.
“The wheels kind of fell off in the fifth. Give them credit, they kept fighting. Little things kept adding up and the next thing I know Brett's pitch count is up around 100 and I can't leave him out there.”
Castle View (7-6, 4-2 Continental League) was 19th in the April 17 wildcard point standings, which help determine the state playoff field and seeds.
The Sabercats played at Rock Canyon April 21 and at Legend April 23. Chaparral visits Castle View for a game April 25.
“Douglas County was a big game for us,” said Wyss. “It was nice to finish a week 3-0. Next week is going to be equally as big.”
The Huskies (6-8, 1-5) entertained Ponderosa April 21, traveled to Littleton April 23 and will host Mountain Vista April 25.