Broomfield sends baseball team home early

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GREELEY -- Somewhere in the Moffat County High School baseball team's lineup book is a sheet filled out for MCHS vs. Greeley West.

That sheet will never be used because the game never happened as the Bulldogs lost to Broomfield, 14-4, and were eliminated from the district tournament before they could face Greeley West.

"We didn't come out today and play like a playoff team," coach Scott Parker said, who confidently filled out both lineup cards before the first game. "We got down early and then we made too many mistakes to be able to chip away at the early lead."

The scouting report on the Eagles showed that they were going to bring big bats to the game and in the bottom of the first inning, they proved to be as good as advertised.

Colt Sedbrook, who came into the game with Class 4A's top batting average, started the scoring for Broomfield with a two-RBI double off of Jerod Estey. Outs were hard to come by for Estey the rest of the inning as the Eagles added five more runs on four hits to go up, 7-0.

"I had a couple of curves that weren't called strikes the first inning and they hit everything else," Estey said. "We knew coming in they were a great hitting team but I don't think we expected that first inning."

Three of the Eagles' seven hits in the first inning were off two-strike pitches -- a discipline at the plate that the Bulldogs didn't see much from of batters in the Western Slope League this year.

"They were a very a disciplined team at the plate," Parker said. "They sat back and put the bat on the ball and forced us to make the plays."

Broomfield coach Garren Estes said his team wanted to shut down Moffat County early but he didn't quite expect such a quick start.

"We just wanted to go out there and hold them down early," he said. "We knew that Estey would be around the zone and they went up there looking to make contact so he wouldn't be in control."

Eric Bastow earned the Bulldogs' first hit with a leadoff triple in the second, but he was stranded on base after Jon Bugay and Barrett Durham went down swinging and Jared Lowther bunted out to end the inning. Bastow was one of nine runners stranded on base in the six-inning game for the Bulldogs.

"We had the chances to come back," Parker said. "We really only took advantage of them in one inning."

The Bulldogs broke up T.J. Hill's shutout in the top of the fifth when Estey, who had three of MCHS' six hits, singled to score Danny Torgerson. MoCo took advantage of five walks and three different Eagle pitchers in the inning to score four runs. Yet, the big hit didn't come for the Bulldogs in the inning, as Bastow was the only player other than Estey to reach with a base hit.

"T.J. really came out and did what we needed him to do," Estes said of his senior pitcher, who had seven strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings. "He and Kenny (Withrow) have been our top pitchers this year and we came in knowing we had to throw our best at a good Moffat County team. They weren't a 14-4 team, things just went our way."

Part of the reason that things went the Eagles' way was that they played better fundamental baseball than their counterparts. Broomfield posted zero in the errors column while Moffat County had six -- all but one of the errors came after the first when MCHS was trying to dig out of the 7-0 hole.

"Everybody makes mistakes," Estey said. "But when we get past four or five, it's going to be tough to win. Several of our errors busted up double plays and killed our momentum."

Possibly the most costly inning in the field was the bottom of the fourth for MCHS. An error by shortstop Jason Mosher followed by a throwing error to start a double play by Jared Lowther put two on. Hill cashed in on the Bulldogs' errors with an RBI single. Broomfield's Ben Hubbard, who went 4-4 on the day, collected the interest on the errors with a two-run double but helped the Bulldogs as he tried to stretch it into a triple and was thrown out.

The Bulldogs' season ends with a 12-7 record. With six seniors graduating, Moffat County will have a different look next year.

"We'll probably play a little more small ball next year," Parker said. "Estey, Bastow, Torgerson, (Tad) Behrens, Bugay and (Joe) Padon have been great leaders this year and I thank them."

Greeley West went on to win the tournament by doing what Moffat County couldn't do -- shut down the bats of Broomfield with a 5-4 win.

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