Titans win five straight, take Buena Vista championship in style | PostIndependent.com

Titans win five straight, take Buena Vista championship in style

Members of Coal Ridge’s summer baseball team celebrate the Buena Vista Tournament championship Sunday afternoon in Buena Vista. Coal Ridge won five straight games to claim the championship.
Provided by Tracey Stecklein

After dropping Game One of Buena Vista’s three-day tournament, the Coal Ridge Titans summer baseball team rallied in a big way, ripping off five straight wins to win the tournament in blowout fashion.

Coal Ridge opened the three-day tournament Friday against Glenwood Springs, and promptly dropped the first game of the tournament, 3-2, as Glenwood scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning, spoiling a great start by Coal Ridge’s Jared Lund. Lund, a junior at Coal Ridge this fall, went six innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits while striking out six.

Following the loss to Glenwood on the first night of the tournament, the Titans rallied, picking up a dominant 13-5 win over Salida on Saturday morning, as Kevin Cordasco got the Titans going with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning, tying the game at 2-2. From there, the Titans scored four runs in the sixth, as Lund, Nate Whitaker, Jared Whitaker and Ryan Kotz all drove in runs in the inning.

On the mound in Game Two, Lane Stecklein, a sophomore at Coal Ridge this fall, allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings of work, striking out seven. Fortunately for Stecklein and the Titans, the offense showed up in a big way on Saturday morning, pushing Coal Ridge to an even 1-1 in the tournament.

Game Three saw the Titans and Demons match up once again, but this time the Titans got the best of Glenwood, pulling out a 10-8 win.

The Titans trailed 7-5 heading into the top of the fifth inning, but Kotz cleared the bases with a triple on the first pitch of the at-bat, giving the Titans an 8-7 lead. Prior to his big hit, Kotz started the game on the mound for Coal Ridge and allowed seven runs in three and two-thirds innings, striking out four.

With the win over Glenwood in Game Three, the Titans found themselves matched up against Manitou Springs on Sunday morning in Game Four. Staying hot, the Titans picked up a 9-7 win, as Coal Ridge collected 11 hits in the game.

Tied at 7-7 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Colton Westphal stepped to the plate and lashed a double on a 2-2 count, giving the Titans a 9-7 lead that would hold up for the winning margin. On the mound in Game Four, Lund allowed seven runs on 10 hits in seven innings, striking out six on the day.

Sitting at 3-1 in the tournament, and just one win away from an appearance in the tournament’s championship game, the Titans rolled to a 14-5 win over the Glenwood Altitude, not to be confused with the Glenwood Springs Demons.

Jared Whitaker gave the Altitude fits, recording four hits on the day, as he doubled in the first, singled in the third, singled in the fourth and singled in the sixth. Aside from Whitaker, Cordasco singled home a run in the five-run sixth, while Kotz hit a home run to pace the Titan attack. Branson Simpson homered in the third inning for Coal Ridge.

Stecklein turned in another strong pitching performance for the Titans, going two and one-third innings, allowing just three runs on three hits, striking out three.

With the win over the Altitude, Coal Ridge reached the championship game having ripped off four straight wins. The Titans made it five in a row in the championship game, pounding host Buena Vista 14-4, as Stecklein drove in four runs on two hits, including a triple in the first and a single in the fourth.

In the championship game, Coal Ridge scored seven runs in the fourth, as Kotz, Stecklein, Nate Whitaker, Simpson and Carson Miller all contributed to the offensive cause.

Kotz was lights out on the mound, striking out eight hitters in four innings of work, allowing four runs on six hits.