Cowboys hang on, sweep Pirates
GHS baseball faces big home doubleheader Saturday
Times Staff Writer
Originally published 2013-04-25
GHS Baseball — There were a few tense moments on the mound for Ryan Costello in closing out the Cowboys’ Western Slope League (WSL) win over Olathe Tuesday.
After watching an 11-4 lead dwindle down to just one run, at 11-10, Gunnison High (GHS) faced loaded bases and the need for just one more out to end the game.
Three pitches, three strikes.
“They started hitting me around a little bit, but it’s just something you have to deal with as a pitcher,” said Costello, who came in to pitch the final six outs. “I had to step off the mound a little bit and refocus mentally.”
Costello’s game clinching “K” bumped the Cowboys’ record to 10-4 on the season and 9-3 in the WSL. Of greater magnitude to GHS coach Tom Percival, who grew up in Olathe, the win also encapsulated a rare season sweep of the Pirates.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve beaten Olathe twice in one season,” Percival said of a streak lasted for at least the past six years. “As clean as it is, or as ugly as it is, it’s two wins against Olathe and that’s big for us.”
Costello struck out three of the six Pirates he faced for the save and had three base hits at the plate. Senior Caleb Wilson struck out six Pirates and gave up just four runs in his first five innings of work before the Olathe bats caught up to him early in the sixth to begin their comeback.
After exchanging three run blows in the second inning, Olathe took a 4-3 lead in the top of the third on three consecutive base hits. GHS took the blow in stride and laid on four runs in their half of the inning to go up 7-4.
Freshman Ty Percival led off the rally by stroking one of his three hits in the game. Sophomore Jake Wallin kept things going with an RBI single and freshman Brevin Book followed that up with a two-RBI double to complete the third inning splurge.
Wallin had a two-RBI double the very next inning to push the Cowboys’ lead to 9-4. Ty Percival made the Cowboys’ final mark on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, putting GHS up 11-4.
“The first time I was up (to bat) I felt some pressure,” said Wallin, who made his first varsity start in left field. “But after that I was good.”
Olathe made things interesting by scoring four runs in the sixth and two in the seventh before Costello’s comeback closing strike out. Knowing Olathe, coach Percival wasn’t surprised by the Pirates’ late game surge.
“I wouldn’t take anything away from (Olathe),” he said. “We told our guys the whole game that they won’t quit. And they battled.”
Ty Percival and Costello were the only Cowboys with three hits in the game. Wallin finished with two hits and three RBIs, while Book had two hits and two RBIs.
Caleb Wilson had two singles to go along with a win on the mound. Sophomore Quinn Travis was 2-for-4 with a double and freshman Brady Wilson was 1-for-3 with a triple and one RBI.
Senior Casey Nordberg provided one RBI and junior Taylor Miller stroked one single.
The victory sets up a double-dip showdown between the Cowboys and the Cedaredge Bruins this Saturday in Gunnison. The two teams enter the weekend tied for second place in the WSL.
“We have to be mentally focused and want to win more than the other team does,” Costello said of the match-up. “That’s what it will all come down to.”
Game times have been slightly tweaked from what was previously scheduled with first pitches slated for 10 a.m. and noon at the GHS baseball field.
(Matt Smith can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org)