Spartan baseball flies by Summit with a 10-run victory

Photo by Melanie Johnson – Berthoud’s Matt Jorissen goes to tag out the Frederick base-runner last week in the Spartans’ first Try-Valley Conference series of the year.

By Jordan Schachterle

The Surveyor

The Berthoud High School (BHS) Spartans baseball team met the Summit High School (SHS) Tigers on Tuesday night at Jack Sommers Field in Berthoud. Berthoud sailed to an easy victory 12-2, notching their third win of the season.

“It’s a team that we came in knowing that we should take care of,” Berthoud Manager Buddy Kouns said.

The sophomore pair of Matt Jorissen and Kellan Oliver made up the starting battery for the Spartans, the second consecutive game for the duo. In the top of the first, they took care of business with a groundball and two strikeouts from Jorissen.

The leadoff duo of Aaron Hardy and Danny Pelphrey set the tone yet again for the Spartans offense. Hardy drew a walk after starting his at-bat down 0-2 and grabbed Berthoud’s first of six stolen bases on the next pitch. Pelphrey singled on a sharp line drive to deep left field, sending Hardy around the bases and across the plate.

With a run on the board and the lead, Jorissen overpowered Summit’s hitters. Three strikeouts made up the three outs in the top of the second, with only one runner reaching first base on the Spartans only walk of the night.

Designated hitter Tim Sontag started the next offensive surge with a six-pitch walk, advancing to second on a balk. Kellan Oliver paced the Spartans with three hits and three RBI and recorded his first of each on a line-drive single down the left field line.

“Going into the batter’s box I just wanted to attack,” Oliver said about his mindset stepping into the batter’s box, “I was looking first pitch strike early, but in my first few at bats I didn’t get that. So, after that I was just looking for anything down the middle.”

Oliver stole second base on the third pitch of fellow sophomore Lane Pirkey’s at-bat, advanced to third on Pirkey’s infield single, and scored after a fielding error. BHS was not finished putting runs on the board in the inning. The next came on a single from Pelphrey which plated Pirkey. 

In the following at-bat, Jorissen broke out of his slight hitting slump with a deep fly-ball that smashed off the fence after just one hop. Pelphrey, after stealing a bag of his own, touched home on the play to give Berthoud a 5-0 lead going into the third.

“The previous games I was thinking too much and today I just cleared my mind and said that I just needed to get some hits,” Jorissen said about his offensive breakthrough.

Another quick inning in the field included two more strikeouts from Jorissen and no Tiger baserunners.

Sontag sparked the Spartans offense again with a walk on four straight balls in his next at-bat. Oliver smashed a double on the very next pitch, which sent junior pinch-runner Kevin Carter on a sprint around the bags from first to home.

In the top of the fourth, Jorissen gave up back-to-back singles and one run after an outfield error. He allowed no more, following the slight mishap with three-straight strikeouts. Berthoud made 12 outs in the four innings Jorissen pitched, with 10 of them coming from strikeouts that were blown by the Tiger hitters.

The Spartans put up four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Three came from the same at-bat; Jacob Lettieri scored the first on a wild pitch, Robbie Ross scored the second on a balk, and Sam Baird scored the third on Oliver’s third hit of the day. Ryler Schelle was the fourth batter to walk across the plate in the frame after another balk.

Senior Brayden Pickett relived Jorissen in the top of the fifth. In the inning, Pickett struck three out, but BHS allowed Summit one run after two hits and an error. Berthoud was quiet in the bottom of the inning.

Berthoud entered the sixth and final inning with a 10-2 lead. BHS completed the quick inning with two strikeouts from Pickett and a catch from Hardy in centerfield.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Schelle got on with a bloop single in between the left fielder and the shortstop and advanced to third base on two more Tiger balks. The winning run was put on base when Hardy was hit by a pitch.

Senior Brock Johnson was up to bat with two outs, two runners on, and the possibility to walk the game off to a 10-run mercy rule victory. Johnson did just that on his first career single which brought Schelle and Hardy home.

Though it was a win, a dominant one at that, Kouns knows there is still a lot of room for improvement.

“We gotta grow and we gotta buy in and we gotta get better at that. If we do, I think we’re gonna be okay,” Kouns said. “But, if we continue to not, we may struggle a little bit, because our league is tough, it really is.”

The Spartans took care of business against the Summit Tigers to bring their record to 3-2, 2-0 conference. They begin a two-game series against fellow Tri-Valley Conference team Skyline on Thursday at Skyline High School at 4 p.m.

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