Most Viewed Stories
Pine Creek reliever stands out in an offensive slugfest
Pine Creek and Air Academy picked up Wednesday afternoon where they left off Tuesday night, scoring runs by the bushel.
In what was a slugfest from start to finish, the Eagles escaped with a 15-12 victory — their second close win over the Kadets in 24 hours.
The game, which featured four lead changes in the early innings, gained some sense of stability when Pine Creek reliever Ryan Warner entered in the fourth inning. Warner was the only pitcher to throw strikes consistently and record outs on a regular basis, allowing only two runs in three innings.
“Ryan made a big difference in the game because he was able to slow them down and it allowed us to take a big lead,” coach Glenn Millhauser said.
With the Eagles nursing a three-run lead in the fifth inning, Air Academy loaded the bases with one out. But Warner wiggled his way out of the jam by inducing a popout from Zach Gehler and a groundout from slugger John Tosches.
“It was in the back of my mind that a home run would give us the lead,” said Tosches, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of two-run homers. “But (Warner) threw me nothing but curveballs, and he really broke our momentum.”
Cleanup hitter Zach Wiese led the charge at the plate for Pikes Peak No. 3 Pine Creek (15-2, 12-2 5A Metro League), driving in six runs as part of a 3-for-3 day that included a home run.
“The guys in front of me usually get the RBIs, but today was just one of those days for me,” Wiese said. “This is a big win, and hopefully we will keep it rolling as we head into the playoffs.”
Even after its deficit increased to 15-8 in the seventh, No. 5 Air Academy (9-6, 8-4) wouldn’t go quietly as Jared Ward’s bases-clearing double cut the lead to three. But Pine Creek pitcher John Pustay eventually put the game away.
“Our kids can really swing the bats, and we didn’t give up,” Kadets coach Duggan Moran said. “But we didn’t get a key hit in the fifth inning, and that was the play of game.”