Battle Mountain baseball stuns Montrose, 6-5
March 30, 2016
EAGLE — The end is near, and it's a good thing. Embrace the apocalypse, people.
Battle Mountain baseball beat Montrose, 6-5, on Wednesday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. (By the way, this is not a premature Vail Daily April Fools story. This really happened.)
This would be Huskies baseball's biggest win since, well, there's really no equivalent.
"I think it's one of the best wins we've had," Huskies junior Hunter Meier said. "I'm honestly speechless because of how well this team has come together. We know we can come together, play our butts off and win. It's one of the best things in the world."
"Honestly, we've got a lot of kids who believe as a team," Huskies skipper Jose Meza said. "It doesn't matter if we get down early. The fight is there all the time. When we play clean baseball, we've got a shot against anybody."
Battle Mountain came back from deficits of 3-0 and 5-3 behind good pitching, timely hitting and really boring defense, which is always good.
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Getting down a bunt
The Indians put up a three-spot in the third, but the Huskies finally got the bats cracking in the fourth.
Payton Kellerman rapped a double, followed by a Sean Weller walk. Robert Redinger was trying to move the runners over with a bunt and, naturally, got two strikes. (Insert Homer Simpson d'oh here.)
"I'm just thinking I need to get the runners over and give out team a chance to score some runs," Redinger said. "We've got guys behind me who can drive in the runs."
Nonetheless, he got the bunt down with two strikes, and as an added bonus, Montrose committed a throwing error to juice the sacks.
"That was probably the biggest play of the game," Meza said.
That's because little things are big things in baseball. Hunter Meier cracked a two-run double and Max Lundgren followed with an RBI single and Battle Mountain had tied the game.
This is part of Battle Mountain's "quality at-bat" program. Mandatory CHSAA pitch counts work both ways. Just as pitchers are trying to keep their pitch numbers down, batters are trying to work them up.
Toward that end, a Battle Mountain quality AB includes, any base hit, and RBI, a walk, hit by pitch, laying down a bunt, hard hit balls, a hit-and-run or a plate appearance involving six or more pitches.
The team's goal is 15 quality ABs in a seven-inning game. The Huskies had 15 in their six innings at the plate.
As for the pitchers, starter Weller as well as Reilly did a good job pounding the strike zone. Not only were they efficient in throwing pitches, so as both will be able to throw a full spread against Delta in a twinbill on Saturday, but they had their stuff.
Meier, who caught the game, had the best view and said that Weller's slider was "destroying," and that Reilly "was painting the corners," with his fastball.
Shutting it down
Montrose got two more runs in the fifth, but the Huskies again showed their resilience. Reilly led off the inning with a double, and Thomas Singleton, followed with a single, putting runners at the corners. Franklin stole home on a dropped third strike, and then Redinger missed a homer by a few feet. The result was a triple and a 5-5 tie.
Meier tripled in the sixth and came home on a Lundgren ground ball, which was ruled an error. Again, it's a little thing, running on contact, but it turned into the big game-winning run.
Battle Mountain had a very uneventful top of the seventh, though Meza's stomach was doing somersaults.
"I was about to throw up," he joked.
Reilly got a harmless fly to center and two ground balls and the Huskies moved to 3-2. By the way, the Huskies defense was nice and boring all day, a rather significant accomplishment given the recent snow and lack of outdoor practice. Battle Mountain committed only one error.
As every Battle Mountain player can look up on his cell phone, Montrose beat Delta, 11-9, last week. Transitivity does not, however, guarantee future results. That said, Battle Mountain knows it isn't an impossible task when they head west to face the Panthers on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.