In a season of decisive victories and crushing defeats, the Clear Creek baseball team was an even 6-6 going into the April 26 game at Denver Academy.
While the Golddiggers started out slow, a strong second inning and a monster seventh gave them another decisive 17-3 victory over the Mustangs.
“We’re doing better (this season) than I thought we would,” Clear Creek coach Stan Gould said. “The kids are improving.”
Going into their final six games of the regular season, Gould said the Golddiggers were ranked 23rd in RPI for 2A baseball. If they maintain that rating, they should make the playoffs.
Gould described how younger players have stepped up and made a difference for the Golddiggers this season. For instance, freshmen Anthony Zacharias and Landon Lewis have been starting on varsity. At the April 26 game, they both played outfield and had good decent hits on offense.
“I’m pretty happy to come away with the big win,” Zacharias said. “It’ll bring some momentum into the following games this week.”
‘A winnable game’
The Mustangs took an 1-0 in the first inning after a triple got a base runner home.
However, Clear Creek responded in the second inning. After freshman Cooper Needham stole second base, a double by Zacharias got Needham and the third-base runner home.
Junior Evan Brandt hit a double and got Zacharias in. Then, junior Tucker Versailles had a single, but an error at first base got Brandt home and Versailles on second.
Clear Creek got another runner in shortly after, and led 5-1 going into the bottom of the second inning.
Gould later described how the Golddiggers’ offense was clicking against the Mustangs, adding, “Especially after we got one time through the lineup, it seemed to take off.”
Denver Academy scored its second point off a sacrifice triple in the bottom of the third inning, and in the fourth, Clear Creek junior Joe Monseu answered with a strong hit that allowed two runners to get home.
The Golddiggers led 7-2 in the bottom of the fourth, but when the Mustangs loaded the bases, Connor Kennedy took over as pitcher from Monseu. Kennedy struck out the next batter for the second out, and the next batter hit a flyout to end the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Denver Academy scored its third run off an error at third base to make it 7-3.
In the sixth, a Monseu triple got one runner home, and Monseu made it home himself off a long single.
Already leading 9-3, the Golddiggers’ offensive firepower reached another level in the seventh inning. Thanks to solid hitting and defensive errors, Clear Creek scored another eight runs.
The Mustangs couldn’t respond on offense, and the game ended after the seventh inning.
“I think we could’ve finished a little better, but honestly, I think we did a pretty good job,” Lewis said. “… I knew it was a winnable game.”
Both Zacharias and Lewis felt good about their individual performances, but were much prouder of their teammates’. Zacharias was especially proud of Monseu and Kennedy’s pitching, and noted how the team overall had cut down on errors.
Gould said both Zacharias and Lewis have a lot of potential. He complimented Zacharias for his hitting and improved play this season, and praised Lewis for his versatility on defense, saying he can play any position needed.
The freshmen said their older teammates have helped them develop this season. Zacharias said the upperclassmen helped improve his swing and have better composure after strikeouts. Lewis described how he’s adopted Brandt’s “flush it” mentality after a bad play.
“It’s a great mentality to have,” he said of shaking off bad plays and focusing on the moment. “That’s how I’ve been playing the whole year.”
Zacharias added, “I think it’s cool (to start on varsity as a freshman.) I like the opportunity to get better at the game, and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”