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Breaks don't fall Evergreen's way in districts

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Cougars eliminated by Spartans

By Brian Forbes

LONGMONT — Line scores sometimes communicate better than words.

Right away you have the bluntness of the final score absent of any colorful details or drama. Then come the hits – good day or bad day at the plate? – and the errors.

Then come the questions. Were the hits big? Were they timely? Was the error costly?

Evergreen’s season came to a disappointing end May 2 in the Class 4A District 6 tournament at host Silver Creek High School. The 10th-seeded Cougars played hard and fought to the bitter end, but everything that went wrong on the chilly and wet day was spelled out in those cold black numbers in the stat box.

The Cougars were outscored 5-1 by the No. 21 Greeley West Spartans, they were outhit 10-4, they left 10 runners on base and, although they committed one less error, it turned out to be costlier.

“You’re not going to win this late in the season when you don’t execute and come through,” said Cougars coach and baseball veteran Terry Hensley.

The Cougars (14-6) got a terrific effort from starting pitcher Parker Coffer and some solid defense, but they could not buy or manufacture a run to save their lives. Coffer took the loss after he was credited with three runs allowed - all unearned.

It was eerily reminiscent of Evergreen’s 3-1 loss to Golden in the final game of the regular season, which makes it an unfortunate trend rather than an anomaly.

“Parker Coffer was a stalwart out there. He pitched very well,” Hensley said. “But something happened to us offensively.”

Third baseman Sam Jones had half the Cougars’ hits from the leadoff position, which meant the rest of Evergreen’s starters went a combined 1-for-20. No. 9 hitter Zach Petrik roped a double in the fifth inning and pinch hitter Nick Riggio drove in courtesy runner Critter Golden in the bottom of the sixth with a single to right field.

“I’m at a loss for why we haven’t hit the ball better lately,” Hensley said. “I think some guys were pressing. But you got to give them credit, they stayed with it. It just wasn’t our day.”

The lone error sparked the Spartans’ biggest inning. With two outs and runner on second, shortstop Corey Murphy threw the ball short to first baseman Randy Rosswog, who could not hold onto it out of the dirt.

Instead of getting out of the inning, the Cougars were down 1-0 and the Spartans prolonged the misery with a double to right field.

Reliever Caleb Garbus came in for Coffer and gave up a two-run single to left before the Cougars escaped the inning trailing 3-0.

Evergreen cut it to 3-1 in the sixth, but the Spartans tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh to push them into the District 6 final against eventual winner Silver Creek.

The Cougars had loads of chances to get to Greeley West right-hander Alex Seier, who threw a complete game and struck out 10.

The Cougars had two on with two outs in the first inning. They had two runners in scoring position in the third inning but went down via consecutive strikeouts. They had one runner in scoring position with one out in the fourth, but popped up to third base and struck out to end the inning. Petrik led off the fifth with a double but he never moved as the next three hitters all flied out. The Cougars stranded two more runners in the seventh.

Greeley West 000 030 2    5 10 2

Evergreen 000 001 0    1 4 1

Evergreen: Jones 3b 4-0-2-0, Coe 2b 2-0-0-0, C. Murphy ss-rp-dh 4-0-0-0, Aramovich rp 0-0-0-0, E. Murphy c 1-0-0-0, Golden cr 0-1-0-0, Rosswog 1b 4-0-0-0, Hoagland rf 2-0-0-0, Fricke dh 2-0-0-0, Coffer sp 0-0-0-0, Garbus rp 0-0-0-0, Daly ss 1-0-0-0, Keen lf 2-0-0-0, Riggio ph 1-0-1-1, Hackbarth pr 0-0-0-0, Petrik cf 3-0-1-0. Totals 26-1-4-1.

E – C. Murphy. LOB – Evergreen 10. SB – Coe. 2B – Jones, Petrik.

Battery: Coffer, Garbus (5), C. Murphy (6), Aramovich (7) and E. Murphy. L – Coffer.