Strong hitting and solid defense leads TJ to a victory against Eaglecrest.
by Marc Houghton
The Spartan baseball team had a great all-around game on Friday, as they rocked the Eaglecrest Raptors by a score of 17-7. After slow starts from the plate against Cherry Creek and Mountain View, TJ seemed to be right where they left off last season, scoring runs at will against the Raptors from the start.
Not only did TJ recover on offense, they also played phenominal defense all game, something they had trouble with in their second outing against Mountain View. Starting pitcher Michael Mankoff pitched a great game, fooling the Eaglecrest hitters left and right with his off-speed pitches. The Raptors also had trouble picking up the unique sidearm motion of senior Ross Kastens, who made his first appearence on the mound for TJ this season. The majority of Eaglecrest’s seven runs came off home runs, as they hit a grand slam in the fourth inning, and two home runs later in the game.
Great hitting performances came from center fielder Kian Jost, as he had four doubles on the night, and Matthew Mankoff who contributed two doubles and a booming three-run home run to put the Spartans up by ten and end the game in the sixth. TJ also played on Saturday morning against Rifle, the game that was supposed to be their season opener last Friday, but was cancelled due to bad weather. Behind more good hitting and defense, they came out with a win by the score of 13-5, bringing their record to 3-1.
TJ hopes to carry the momentum from this three-game winning streak into what will be one of their biggest tests of the season on Tuesday at Ralston Valley at 3:30. Ralston Valley was ranked first to start off the year, and should be one of TJ’s most challenging opponents for the rest of the regular season.