ARVADA — After a sloppy loss to Pomona in Game 1 of a doubleheader, the Evergreen Cougars summer baseball team bounced back to top the host Panthers with a somewhat unlikely player leading the way.
Lute Moss, who sat out most of his junior high school season due to injury, went 3-for-3 and pitched two solid innings en route to a 12-9 victory on June 24.
“I felt good pitching for the first time in a while,” Moss said. “I’m just trying to get it stronger right now.”
Moss strained the UCL in his elbow last spring, forcing him to miss what could have been a promising season. If the ligament were to tear, it would potentially require Tommy John surgery, putting rehab at around a year.
“We’ve been very cautious with him,” Cougars coach Matt Erholtz said. “He really hasn’t thrown a whole lot. Eventually, he will get back into it and be one of our top pitchers. When he’s on, he’s definitely one of the best.”
Starting pitcher Ryan Hays left the mound with a 7-5 lead after four innings as Moss moved from right field to try and hold the Cougar lead.
With temperatures pushing triple digits, Moss allowed only two hits and struck out three. He attempted to finish the game, but a walk and hit by pitch to the first two batters in the seventh forced Erholtz to call on Josh Bellatti.
Bellatti allowed a hit and a walk, but forced the three outs for the save as Evergreen improved to 9-8 for the summer season.
While pitching helped to control Pomona’s offense, it was Evergreen’s much-improved batting that set the tone in Game 2. After a lackluster 11-2 loss in the opener, the Cougars’ bats got hot. With 13 singles and four doubles, the Cougars had 11 more hits in the second game than the first. In all, seven Cougars had two or more hits in the win.