Jaguars spoil perfection

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By Chaz Hudd

The Cougars didn’t expect to go through the baseball season undefeated, but they certainly would have liked to have stayed perfect at least through the weekend.

Evergreen rallied late but ended up on the short end of a 5-4 decision to D’Evelyn on April 5 in a Class 4A Jefferson County League game at Evergreen High School.

Evergreen trailed 4-0 before erupting for four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Jaguars came right back with the go-ahead run in their final at-bat, and the Cougars went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to absorb their first loss. Evergreen fell to 10-1 on the season, and is now 1-1 in Jeffco League play. D’Evelyn improved to 1-1 in the league and 7-4 overall.

“This was a big game and we made things tougher on ourselves with the loss,” Evergreen coach Terry Hensley said. “We are a young team and we missed some opportunities. We have to be a bit better to compete in this league.”

The Jaguars struck early, reaching starter Clay Knotts for a pair of second inning runs.

Charlie Basil and Sean Rebek drove in the runs as D’Evelyn laced three straight hits in the frame. Evergreen also mishandled a sacrifice bunt, giving the visitors an extra out to work with.

Knotts settled down nicely, yielding just one more hit. The senior right hander went five innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out four.

D’Evelyn starter Brad Loveland muzzled the usually potent Evergreen bats, shutting the Cougars out on five hits through five innings.

“We couldn’t ask for anything more from Clay,” said Hensley. “He gave us a great effort.”

Hard throwing junior Corey Murphy came on in relief to start the sixth and got himself in immediate trouble, hitting a batter with his first pitch. A pair of one out singles loaded the bases. Murphy induced a slow grounder to shortstop, but the ball was misplayed as a run scored. Murphy notched a strikeout, but threw a wild pitch to Eric Nicholson and Loveland trotted home to make it 4-0.

The Cougars’ offense finally got untracked in the bottom of the inning. Travis Coe singled, Murphy walked and Davis Frease knocked in a run with a liner to the fence in right center. Sam Jones plated Murphy with his third hit of the day, and Parker Coffer pushed across another with a two-out double. The throw back to the infield got away and Jones scored to tie the game.

The excitement for the home crowd was short-lived. Cleanup hitter Aldi Ozols singled to score Anthony Baldassari and put D’Evelyn back on top 5-4 in the seventh.

Travis Coe gave the visitors a scare, but his deep liner with one out was right at the center fielder. Loveland retired the side in order and the Cougars tasted defeat for the first time.