Golden knocks Bulldogs out of baseball playoffs
AURORA — One stinkin’ run.
After advancing to the Class 4A District 2 championship game in the first round of the state baseball playoffs, the Bulldogs came up a run short in a 9-8 loss to Golden Saturday.
The Bulldogs had the tying run at third base with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when first baseman Kyle Sorensen grounded out to the pitcher to end the Bulldogs’ dreams of a sustained playoff run.
The Bulldogs were down early in the game, trailing 8-1 heading into the fourth inning. But they clawed their way back into the game with three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, to set up the nail-biter seventh.
“I’m extremely proud of the kids,” Bulldogs coach Scott Parker said after the game. “We fought and hung in there.”
The Bulldogs started the day by taking on No. 8 seed Cherokee Trail on its home field. Bryan Wojtkiewicz pitched a complete game for the 3-1 victory. He struck out nine.
“Bryan was outstanding. He hit his spots and trusted his defense,” Parker said. “He’s definitely one of the best pitchers in the state and his numbers reflect it. He was 6-2 with a save and a 1.84 ERA.”
The team entered that game with an “underdog mentality,” Parker said. “We believed we could win and we were able to execute all three phases of the game — pitching, defense and timely hitting — to come out with the win.”
Twice during the game, Wojtkiewicz bunted a runner into scoring position followed by a Billy Ivy run-scoring single. Bryan Richards added a solo home run to round out the scoring.
Cherokee Trail skipper Allan Dyer said his young players faced a stiff challenge playing against more seasoned Bulldog team.
“We’re all sophomores and freshmen and we had a good season. It was a good experience playing Moffat County.”
“We played at an extremely high level in that first game, Parker said. “And the second game we damn near played at that level.”
In the second game, the Bulldogs faced Golden, which had defeated Sand Creek 12-2 to advance.
The Bulldogs scored a run in the top of the first, but then they watched Golden put up 5 runs in the bottom half of the inning.
“They had some hits, but they didn’t hit the ball real hard — some of them were just out of our reach in those first three innings when they got eight of their runs,” Parker said. “We hit the ball hard — just right at people.”
When the Bulldogs’ hits started to fall, the team couldn’t overcome the hole it had dug for itself.
Bryan Richards started the second game and despite falling behind, continued to battle, the coach said.
“It’s not like he crumbled. He didn’t walk people; they just got their hits to drop.”
Jared Lowther replaced Richards in the second inning, but Richards remained in the game in right field.
Trailing 8-1 after three innings, the Bulldogs sent eight men to the plate in the top of the fourth.
With the bases loaded, Billy Ivy singled home Richards to make it 8-2. Then Brian Behrman doubled, scoring Brad Grinstead and Korey Kostur to make it 8-4.
Golden scored in the bottom half of the inning, making it 9-4.
But the Bulldogs scored three more runs in the top of the fifth, making it 9-7 and setting up the dramatic finish.
In the top of the seventh, Richards singled to right and Korey Kostur just missed a game-tying home run by smacking a double off the centerfield fence. Kostur’s hit scored Richards.
With one out, Billy Ivy drew a walk, which prompted a pitching change for Golden. Joel Lockhart recorded a strikeout, but Kostur and Ivy advanced to third and second on a double steal.
That’s when Sorensen hit a comebacker to the mound to end the game.
“Lowther did a great job replacing Bryan and everyone stepped up and we almost got the win,” Parker said.
“Moffat County played well,” said Golden coach Brad Madden. “Scoring five runs in the first gave us early confidence, but Moffat County played a great game and they had a really good chance at regionals next week. I’m glad we had a chance to play each other.
“We just got lucky and came up one run better.”
Andy Smith and Amber Breslin contributed to this story.
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