Steamboat baseball ends season with win
GRANBY — The Steamboat Springs High School baseball team ended its season positively, earning its first victory of the year.
Going into the game against Middle Park on Friday, Steamboat knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The Panthers came in 8-6 and on the playoff bubble. They needed a win to keep their season alive.
Meanwhile, Steamboat had nothing to lose.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a game that we’re just going to walk in and win,” said Steamboat head coach George Ibarra.
The Sailors came away with a thrilling 17-8 win, essentially ending the Panthers’ hopes of a playoff appearance.
“We were playing in somewhat of a meaningful game,” said Walker Ripley. “We got to play the role of a spoiler and now they won’t be going to playoffs. It’s a fun role to play and it’s kind of a competitive atmosphere to play in.”
The Sailors got the bats going right away, scoring four runs in the first inning. Middle Park followed with two runs to keep things close, but four more runs in the third allowed Steamboat to gain a more comfortable lead. Offense has been hard to come by for the Sailors all season, but on Friday they just kept making contact, to the tune of 15 hits.
Sailor Jake Hamric earned three RBI, while Jay Phillips and Dylan Gormley each had two.
“The errors were definitely cut down by a lot,” said Ripley. “The bats were alive today.”
Steamboat led 11-4 with one inning to go. Having relinquished a few leads this spring, the Sailors cushioned their advantage with six more runs in the seventh.
Middle Park added four more in the bottom of the inning, but Steamboat ended the inning before they closed the gap any tighter.
Ibarra was impressed by his defense, which turned three double plays over the course of the game. Ibarra thinks the team had maybe one the rest of the season.
“They were communicating, they were hitting the cut-off man,” Ibarra said. “They were talking the whole time.”
The team committed three errors, but didn’t dwell on them and therefore commit more. The Sailors had a short memory, which allowed them to stay sharp.
A few of the typical starters were out for various reasons, and the younger and less-experienced players didn’t hesitate to step up and fill their shoes.
Senior Austin Ibarra tossed 6 1/3 innings, throwing five strikeouts in the process.
“We just went out there and we wanted to have fun and that kind of helped us play loose and do good instead of being so tight and worried about winning that we made mistakes or errors,” Austin said. “We played loose and were able to win.”
Steamboat Springs 17, Middle Park 8
SS 404 021 6 – 17
MP 201 010 4 – 8
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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George Ibarra abruptly stepped down Monday as coach of the Steamboat Springs High School girls basketball team, according to school athletic director Luke DeWolfe.