Geckos top Storm, win MWSCBL championship |

Geckos top Storm, win MWSCBL championship

For the second year in a row the Glenwood-Carbondale Geckos won the Mountain West Summer Collegiate Baseball League championship, topping the Steamboat Springs Storm, 6-4, Saturday, at Ron Patch Memorial Field in Carbondale.

Led by head coach Nick Gauna, who is the pitching coach at Oregon Tech University, the Geckos rolled through the MWSCBL all season long, finishing with a 26-6 record and the championship.

Roughly seven weeks ago the Geckos first met up as a team made up of Division III and NAIA players from around the country. The 25-man roster converged on Carbondale the first week of June and simply took off from there, rolling through the six-team league behind solid pitching and some serious offensive fireworks.

In the championship game, lefthander John Schulz, a sophomore from Oregon Tech, got the start against the Storm and just didn’t have his best stuff on the mound, lasting just two and one-third innings, allowing four runs. Coming on in relief of Schulz was righthander Cooper Webster, a sophomore from Lane Community College. The righty was simply lights out for the Geckos, pitching four and two-thirds innings of shutout ball to lead the Geckos to the win.

Despite the clean scoresheet, Webster did get himself into some jams, including a serious bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the top of the fifth inning before recording two straight strikeouts and a groundout to third base to get out of the jam unscathed.

“Cooper was simply lights-out for us,” Gauna said. “He came on in a big spot for us and did everything we asked of him. That fifth inning was the game for us. If he gives up two runs there we’re tied up. He was just phenomenal for us after coming in. It was awesome to watch. He got himself into some very tough situations, but he worked himself out of it.”

A solo shot from Joey Mederios, a sophomore infielder from Mission (Calif.) College, broke a 4-4 tie to give the Geckos the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning that they would never relinquish.

Although the championship game win is the second straight for the Geckos, this was a completely different team from the previous season, which makes it that much more special to watch. Gauna and his assistant coach, Caleb Wade from Kansas Wesleyan University, started recruiting the members of the team last November to come out to Colorado for the summer and compete in the MWSCBL. According to Gauna, the team gelled so quickly and everyone got along just fine, which really led to the success on the field.

“The kids just bought in from the start and really took this summer seriously,” Gauna said. “This championship win is more a testament to these kids than it is to any coaching staff they could have had. They came in from day one and worked hard, showed up on time for everything and were about baseball every single day. There was so much balance with this team that it was fun to sit back and watch. This group of kids really deserves this and I hope they take what they learned in their roles here back to their respective schools and build off of it.”

Next year will bring a whole new group of players and a new coaching staff, but based off of the success of the Geckos the last two years, next years group has some big shoes to fill.

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