CHEYENNE – In all his years with Cheyenne American Legion Post 6, Ty Lain can’t remember seeing a runner score from second base on a passed ball.
Not as a player, not as an assistant, and not over the past five seasons as manager.
He saw it twice Thursday night.
In fact, it’s how the Sixers scored both the tying and go-ahead runs during a 3-2 eight-inning victory over Cherry Creek, Colorado.
“I can’t say that I’ve actually seen that,” Lain said. “The ball got away, and we had guys running hard who were able to get home. It’s an unusual way to win a game, but we’ll take it.”
Cheyenne (24-9) was down to its last strike in the bottom of the eighth inning when a pitch got away from Cherry Creek’s Jeremiah Sanchez and past catcher Derek Lukes allowing Dominic Lopez to score from second.
Lopez hit a one-out single to right before advancing to second when Zack Costopoulos drew a walk. Kelden Hastings struck out swinging to give Post 6 two outs.
Jackson Hesford fell behind 0-2 before forcing the count full at 3-2 when Sanchez unleashed the errant pitch. That hit off Lukes and deflected to the first base dugout. Lukes didn’t locate the ball before Lopez rounded third.
“I could that it shot right to the dugout,” Lain said. “Honestly, both pitches went to just about the exact same spot. Once the catcher turned and looked straight back, I knew they were in trouble.
“They had some really talented guys throwing hard, and when they throw hard like that, the ball skips on the turf. We caught a couple breaks.”
The first occurrence came in the home half of the fifth inning. Senior Grant Redman doubled to right field to lead off the inning. The right fielder was fooled by the strong winds gusting around Powers Field, and the ball fell in front of him as he dove.
A wild pitch then shot over to Cherry Creek’s dugout and Lukes couldn’t locate the ball. Redman took off as soon as he saw the ball get away from Lukes, and easily scored from second to knot the score 2-2.
“I saw it skip off (Lukes’) helmet, so I knew I was going to be able to get to third,” Redman said. “I saw (Lain) waiving me around, so I just busted my but to get home and score the tying run.
“All my teammates said that’s the fastest they’ve seen me run.”
Cherry Creek took a 2-0 lead after the top of the second. Lukes singled to left as the ball dropped just in front of the outstretched right arm of Jackson Hesford. Hesford recovered quickly and held Lukes’ to a single.
A walk and a single later, and Cherry Creek had a 1-0 lead. It pushed that advantage to 2-0 when Kyle Barclay scored from third after the Sixers lost track of him during a run down.
Junior center fielder Andrew Johnson also made two outstanding defensive plays that kept the game close. He made a diving catch to record the second inning.
Johnson kept it a 2-2 game after five innings. Brad Marshall tried to get greedy on Trevor Moore’s single to left-center field. The ball tailed away from where Johnson stood. He would have easily been able to reach the ball if he had been in center. Johnson ranged to his right and caught the ball on one bounce. He fielded it cleanly and then threw out Moore at home.
“We put ourselves in position to catch the breaks we did because of the plays (Johnson) made in center,” Lain said. “The amount of ground he had to cover even to get to the baseball and then throw out that runner at the plate was super impressive. He is one heck of an athlete, and made a great play.”
Sixers’ senior left-hander Travis Onisto was saddled with a no-decision. He fanned nine batters and allowed five hits across five innings. Junior righty Ben Bohlmann pitched three innings of scoreless relief to improve to 3-1 on the season. He struckout five and gave up just three hits.
“They were both outstanding,” Lain said. “That was the best outing of the year for (Bohlmann). It was a really gutsy performance from him coming into the game and filling it up.”
CHEYENNE 3, CHERRY CREEK 2
Cherry Creek…… 020 000 00 – 2 8 1
Cheyenne…… 000 110 01 – 3 5 2
Cherry Creek pitching: Moore, Sanchez (6), Reese (8) and Lukes. Cheyenne pitching: Onisto, Bohlmann (6) and Anderson.
W: Bohlman (3-1). L: Wood.
2B: Cherry Creek 1 (Marshall); Cheyenne 1 (Redman)