Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Baseball: Niwot picks up three wins in Arizona


Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot’s Skye Messinger launches a base hit in early season action.

After a shaky 2-4 start to the season, the Niwot Cougars baseball team won three of five games last week at the Coach Bob National Invitational in Phoenix, AZ. The Cougars have now won five of their last seven games, improving their record to 5-6 heading into the heart of their conference schedule. For Head Coach Craig McBride, the annual trip to the desert is an important way to build team chemistry.

“Being together for five days is more of a brotherhood. They have a lot of fun, and sometimes they get on each other’s nerves,” he explained. “But they learn to get over the aggravations and bond as a team.”

3/27 — Marist 15, Niwot 10

Opened the week against the Marist Spartans of Eugene, Ore. in a high scoring game marked by big innings for both teams. Unfortunately for the Cougars, however, there were more such innings for the Spartans, who won 15-10.

Like a meteor, the Niwot bats were flashy early, but then crashed to earth. The Cougars answered the Spartans’ six-run first inning with eight runs in the second inning, and then went silent until late in the game. By then it was too late. Marist added another nine runs in the fourth and fifth, putting the game away for good.

Despite the loss, Niwot had a solid performance on offense. Four players had a multi-hit game, including senior Trevor Green, with two hits and three RBI, and senior Jordy Wills, with a pair of singles and two RBI.

Once again, pitching was problematic for Niwot, but there were lapses in the field as well. Cougars hurlers surrendered 15 runs (12 earned) on nine hits, striking out five and walking seven. In an uncharacteristically sloppy game, meanwhile, the Cougars fielders committed seven errors, including three by shortstop Skye Messinger.

For Coach McBride, the sloppy defensive work was a temporary side-effect of the external distractions attendant with the road trip, and not cause for undue alarm.

“There were a number of factors,” he said. “It was the day after a travel day. There were a whole bunch of scouts there watching Skye. Our game prep was a little different.”

“The team learned a good lesson, though,” he continued. “Keep everything between the backstop lines, and concentrate on game issues, and not what’s going on around the field.”

Spartans (3-2) 600 540 0 — 15 9 -

Cougars (2-5) 080 001 1 — 10 11 7

Jake Sims 2-2-1-0, Skye Messinger 4-1-0-0, Trevor Green 3-1-2-3, Ben Goss 0-1-0-0, Colton Goldfarb 5-0-2-1, Zach Kinnison 4-1-2-1, Hunter Stephens 3-0-1-0, Joey DesEnfants 3-1-0-0, Jordan Wills 4-1-2-2, Joey Neve 3-2-1-1

2B — Goldfarb, Stephens SB — Neve

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hunter Stephens 3.1-4-8-6-6-4, Dylan Ferrero 1-2-5-5-1-1, Quinn Williamson 1.2-3-2-1-0-0

3/28 — Niwot 9, Horizon Christian 8

Back in action on Tuesday, Niwot took on Horizon Christian of Hood River, Ore. Down 8-4 after four innings, the Cougars scored five runs in the next two frames to take the game 9-8.

Niwot hitting was once again impressive, with 15 hits on the day. Senior Joey Neve had his first multi-hit game of the season, with three hits, including a triple. Green and Messinger had three hits apiece, while senior Jake Sims had two.

It was a cleaner game for Niwot in the field, with just three errors on the day. On the mound, senior pitchers Griffin Mitchell and Zach Kinnison allowed eight runs (five earned) on seven hits, while striking out six and walking just two.

Horizon Christian (0-3) 010 700 0 — 8 7 -

Cougars (3-5) 020 214 0 — 9 15 3

Jake Sims 4-1-2-0, Skye Messinger 4-1-3-3, Trevor Green 4-3-3-0, Cameron Hassert 3-0-1-0, Colton Goldfarb 3-0-1-0, Hunter Stephens 2-2-1-1, Joey DesEnfants 4-0-1-2, Jordan Wills 3-0-0-1, Joey Neve 4-2-3-0

2B — Goldfarb 3B — Green, Messinger, Neve SB — Green

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Griffin Mitchell 3.1-5-8-5-2-3, Zach Kinnison 3.2-2-0-0-0-3

3/29 — Casteel Colts 8, Niwot 5

Niwot got a look at the local talent on Wednesday, when the Cougars faced off against the Casteel Colts of Queen Creek, Ariz. Beneficiaries of a baseball friendly climate, the Colts efficiently recorded eight runs over four innings in their 17th game of the season, beating the Cougars 8-5.

Niwot bats cooled against Casteel’s young pitchers, netting just seven hits and no walks on the day. Sims had two hits and an RBI, while junior Colton Goldfarb hit his team-leading seventh double. Neve, Messinger, and senior Hunter Stephens also had doubles in the game.

Starter Wills had a forgettable outing, allowing eight earned runs on eight hits, with five strikeouts and four walks. In relief, sophomore Quinn Williamson threw three scoreless innings, giving up a hit and two walks.

Cougars (3-6) 011 001 2 — 5 7 2

Colts (12-5) 021 320 0 — 8 10 0

Jake Sims 4-1-2-1, Skye Messinger 4-0-1-1, Trevor Green 3-1-1-0, Cameron Hassert 0-1-0-0, Colton Goldfarb 3-0-1-1, Zach Kinnison 3-1-1-0, Hunter Stephens 3-0-1-0, Joey DesEnfants 2-0-0-1, Joey Neve 4-1-1-1, Fox Garza 2-0-0-0

2B — Goldfarb, Messinger, Neve, Stephens

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jordy Wills 34-8-8-8-4-5, Quinn Williamson 3-1-0-0-2-1

3/30 — Niwot 6, Sandy 2

Solid pitching was the story in Thursday’s action, as junior pitcher Caleb Martinez, in his season debut for the Cougars, allowed just one run and three hits over five innings work against the Sandy Pioneers (Sandy, Ore.). In two innings of relief, sophomore Joey DesEnfants gave up two hits and the Pioneers’ second run. McBride said that the additional of Martinez, who pitched for the Cougars’ legion team last summer, makes his pitching staff better in unanticipated ways.

“His mound presence is exceptional, and nothing really rattles him,” said McBride of the junior Silver Creek transfer. “When he gets behind in the count, he comes back with quality pitches, and our other pitchers were able to learn that commanding the strike zone early means that we’re probably going to benefit from calls throughout the game.” Under CHSAA transfer rules, Martinez had to sit out the first half of the season.

Niwot batters hit eight singles in the winning effort, with Messinger and Stephens getting two apiece. Green had the Cougars only extra base hit, while senior Chandler Snead recorded both his first hit and first run of the year.

Pioneers (2-7) 000 010 1 — 2 5 3

Cougars (4-6) 013 110 0 — 6 9 1

Jake Sims 2-1-0-0, Skye Messinger 4-1-2-0, Trevor Green 2-2-1-0, Colton Goldfarb 4-0-1-1, Zach Kinnison 3-0-1-1, Hunter Stephens 3-1-2-1, Chandler Snead 2-1-1-0, Jordan Wills 3-0-1-1, Joey Neve 3-0-0-1

2B — Green

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caleb Martinez 5-3-1-1-3-3, Joey DesEnfants 2-2-1-0-0-1

3/31 — Niwot 12, David Douglas 2

In the final game of the week, the Cougars exploded for ten runs in the third inning on their way to a 12-2 victory over the David Douglas Scots of Portland, Ore. Stephens pitched all five innings of the mercy-rule shortened contest, giving up just one earned run on three hits while fanning five Scots. In the field, Niwot made just two errors, and turned three double-plays.

Sims smashed a key triple in the third, and ended the day with three hits, two RBI, and a stolen base. DesEnfants went three-for-three, knocking in two runs and scoring two more. Kinnison chipped in another two RBI for Niwot, and freshman Cameron Hassert recorded his second RBI of the season. McBride named Sims the player of the game against the Scots, noting that the centerfielder is now one of the team’s leading hitters, despite sitting out three games with a hamstring injury.

“He’s been doing really well for us,” he said. “He’s hitting over .400, right up there with Skye.” Sims had eight hits in 16 at-bats last week, boosting his team-leading average to .440.

Cougars (5-6) 01(10) 10x x— 5 7 2

Scots (0-7) 02 1 11x x — 8 10 0

Jake Sims 4-1-3-2, Skye Messinger 2-1-0-0, Trevor Green 1-1-0-0, Ben Goss 1-0-0-0, Griffin Mitchell 1-0-1-1, Cameron Hassert 1-1-1-1, Zach Kinnison 3-2-1-2, Hunter Stephens 1-1-0-1, Joey DesEnfants 3-2-3-2, Chandler Snead 1-0-0-0, Jordan Wills 2-1-1-1, Joey Neve 1-0-0-0, Fox Garza 1-2-0-0

3B — Jake Sims

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hunter Stephens 5-3-2-1-4-5

Back at home this week, the Cougars resume league play in a home-and-home series against Centaurus (2-8) on April 6 and 8. McBride said he thinks the team is well-positioned for their final eight games, even with teams like Mountain View and Longmont ahead on the schedule.

“Overall we feel pretty good about where we’re at, and hopefully we’ll continue the momentum,” he said. “We’re swinging it pretty well, and our pitching should continue to get better.”


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