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Cougars leave room to improve

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Evergreen falls to top seed Mountain Range in North Metro tourney

By Michael Hicks

ARVADA — For Evergreen baseball coach Matt Erholtz, the Cougars’ 11-3 loss to top-seeded Mountain Range on July 28 at Bart Mapps Field at Pomona High School was what it was.
It represented what the summer season was as a whole for EHS in some ways. There were some positives, but there were some negatives as well. That’s why the first-year varsity head coach sees room for improvement after his team was bounced from the seven-team double-elimination North Metro League tournament.
“We have a lot of things to go back to the drawing board on, back to the fundamentals,” Erholtz said. “Sometimes you make assumptions on teams. You just learn sometimes that we may underestimate what knowledge level or practice level they’re at.”
That may have been the case against the Mustangs. Mountain Range, despite entering the tournament as the No. 1 seed, was upended in the semifinals by Pomona. But they battled back two games later to score two runs in the first and third innings to lead Evergreen 4-0 before breaking through with five runs in the fifth on a walk, sacrifice fly, RBI single and two-run hit.
The lead was 11-0 in the sixth after Matt Maestas’ two-run homer to center field.
Evergreen, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, defeated Horizon in the first round 14-4 before dropping a 17-14 slugfest to finalist Wheat Ridge in the semifinals. The Cougars battled back in the next round to stop Monarch 12-7, but a rally wasn’t in the cards against the 5A Mustangs.
“I just think we kind of didn’t have a great vibe this summer in the team. We’re definitely going to make some changes, change that and come back and play better,” said rising sophomore Brandon Corfee, who drove in two runs with a two-out single in the sixth to stretch the game to seven innings after Mountain Range threatened to close it out early due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Jackson Grise added an RBI single one batter later for Evergreen’s third run, but it wouldn’t be enough.
“(It was) good they came back a little bit, but it was a too little too late type of thing,” Erholtz said.
Brock Burke and Eli Ausman scored Evergreen’s first two runs.