Barr's 9th-inning heroics lift Sailors over Panthers

First home baseball game keeps fans on edge of their seats

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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS -- It was what you'd hope to see in the first high school baseball game ever played in Steamboat Springs.

It was a typical spring day in a town known for its skiing, not its base running. The game against Delta had started under fairly nice skies April 15, but by the the middle innings, rain started to fall.

While thunder could be herd rumbling in the background, the biggest blast of lightning came from Tanner Barr's bat in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"It's something you always dream might happen someday," Barr said of his game-winning home run.

Barr's team was tied in an extra-innings game when the Steamboat Springs player unleashed a three-run shot that ended the rain-delayed game and gave Steamboat its second win of the season in a 9-6 thriller.

"It was a curve ball and that is what I had seen all day," Barr said. "I think his coach told him to throw it because he didn't think I could hit it out of the park."

With the score tied, the No. 4 hitter had gone up to the plate with one thing on his mind -- getting teammate John Aragon Jr. from second base to home plate.

"I knew John was pretty fast," Barr said. "So I just wanted to hit a single and I knew he could score."

The Sailors are now 2-3 in conference play and 2-8 overall.

"There were lots of heroes in this game," Sailors head coach John Aragon said. "We needed a lot of people to come through and they all did."

Steamboat jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but wouldn't score again until the eighth (first extra) inning of the game.

Delta climbed back into the contest by getting one run in the fourth, two more in the fifth and one in the seventh to tie the game at four runs apiece. Both teams scored a run in the eighth inning. Then Delta scored again in the top of the ninth to make it 6-5.

"When Tanner came up we had both John (Aragon Jr.) and Derek (Haverley) on, but we also had two outs," coach Aragon said.

The late-game heroics had been set up by a solid pitching performance by Jeremiah Kiely. Kiely gave up just one home run in the game and his coach said the Delta players were having trouble handling his pitches.

"They couldn't hit the ball that hard and when they did it was usually on the ground," Aragon said.

The Sailors also got several key hits from players in the final inning. Just before Barr's second-pitch homer, Haverley hit a ninth-inning RBIsingle with two strikes and two outs that brought in the game-tying run. Haverley finished the game with two hits in four trips to the plate. He also scored three times in the game.

Aragon Jr. also had two hits. Ryan Kiely, Jordy Gunderson and Steven Mahosky also had hits in the game.

The victory gave the Sailors a lift after the squad let a game against Roaring Fork slip away the night before,April 14.

Roaring Fork, 8-4 this season, came from behind in the final inning to beat the Sailors 10-9 in Carbondale.

"It was a real heartbreaker," coach Aragon said.

Ryan Kiely had two hits in four trips including a home run and three RBI. Jamie McKelvie, Brian Grassby, Haverley, Evan Wojtowicz, Gunderson and Aragon Jr. all had at least one hit in the game.


--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net

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