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Baseball Season Comes to a Close

Posted 05/18/2008 by Marc Houghton

Spartans fall in two games to Ralston Valley, finishing as the 4A State runner up. 
by Marc Houghton
photo by Kevin Fleming

normal_DSC_0312.JPG    The TJ boys’ baseball team had two tough losses to finish up their season on Saturday against Ralston Valley at All City field.  The Spartan offense just didn’t come alive, as TJ fell by a score of 10-0 in their first game, and 8-4 in the second. 
    The Ralston Valley Mustangs came to play, knowing they would have to beat the talented Spartans twice to take the title.  After beating Skyline the day before to earn a spot in the championship, the Mustangs threw their ace pitcher Matt Skipper, a 6’7" senior, who was later named the 4A tournament MVP.  Skipper threw a 5-hit shut-out in the first game, and came back to finish the last 2 innings of the final game. 
    The Spartan offense never got going, and had trouble stringing hits together to manufacture runs.  Their first score came on a 2-run homer from Junior Sam Thomas in the 5th inning of the second game.  "We just didn’t play our game," said Senior left fielder Michael Mankoff.  "We had a few hits here and there, but it took Sam’s home run to get us going, but by then it was too late."

    The team had an amazing season overall, finishing with a record of 23-4, their only losses coming from two ranked 5A teams and to the 4A Champion Mustangs.  Although they didn’t reach their ultimate goal of a state title, the team had a very memorable year, and many of the seniors will be moving on to continue their baseball careers in college.  These players include Tyler Thornton, who will be playing at the Colorado School of Mines, Brett Nathan at Salt Lake Community College in Utah, Kian Jost at Fort Scott Junior College in Kansas, Max Maloney at American River Junior College in California, and Cooper Hearne at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.  This amazingly talented group of seniors has a bright future ahead, and with some very talented underclassmen including Sam Thomas and Freshman Pitcher Chris Van Dyke, the winning legacy of TJ baseball will carry on for years to come.