Steamboat Springs Sailor David May wasn't supposed to start, he wasn't supposed to throw seven complete innings and, most of all, he wasn't supposed to win.
But the freshman pitcher stepped onto the mound at the Craig Middle School last night and did everything he wasn't supposed to do.
The effort helped the Steamboat Springs High School baseball team collect a scrappy 6-5 win against league rival Moffat County. It was the first time the Sailors have ever beaten the perennial favorite Bulldogs, and it was the Steamboat team's first win of the season.
"This is pretty much our biggest win ever," catcher Steven Mahosky said after the game. "David did a great job for us. He put the ball everywhere I asked for it."
May also got some help at the plate as the Sailors offense broke out of an early season slump by scoring six runs in the game. The defense, which made most of its mistakes in the first inning, also came to life, getting huge diving catches from outfielders Joe Liefer and Tanner Barr at key points of the game.
Liefer sparked Steamboat's offense in the first at-bat of the ball game with a towering home run. It would be the only home run in the entire game for either team.
"I led off so it was just a solo Homer, but I'm glad it happened," Liefer said. "It put us on top early and it really got us going."
In the bottom of the inning, however, the Bulldogs fired back. Three fielding errors and two passed balls helped Moffat County take a 3-1 lead. Kevin Voorhees, Rob Satterwhite and Chris Fields all scored in the inning.
But the Sailors didn't give in.
The Sailors' Jeff Franks led off the second inning with a double. The next batter, JoJo Bucci made it pay off with an RBI single. Jordy Gunderson also helped build the Steamboat lead with a ground rule double that scored Bucci. Liefer also racked a single that drove May around the base pads to put the Sailors up 4-3.
The fourth was dominated by great defensive play. Franks and Barr made diving catches and Moffat County's Shane Burum was thrown out at the plate by Wojtowicz as he tried to score a run.
May also started to take control of the game by striking out Moffat County batters and getting them to pop up. The freshman finished the game with four strikeouts. He walked just one batter and hit another.
"Sure it was a scrappy effort," Steamboat coach Joss Vinson said. " We could have done a couple of little things better. If we can improve on those things we will not be a team that just happened to beat Moffat County. But we will be the team that is supposed to beat Moffat County."
Steamboat built the lead to 6-3 after five innings of play, but Moffat County made a run in the sixth by scoring two runs.
May, who said his pitch count had started to take a toll in the fifth, found himself in every pitcher's nightmare in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Sailors led the game by one run, had two outs and May had two strikes on Moffat County slugger Mark Turner. He knew he was out of gas, but would have to dig deep to get the final hitter.
"I was tired after the fifth inning," May said. "But I just threw my best fastball and somehow I got it past him."
The umpire called strike and May's teammates smothered him just off the mound.
"Where I'm from freshman players start if they are good enough to play. He is definitely good enough to play," Vinson said. "I never even thought of pulling him out of the game. It was his game all the way and he earned the right to finish it."
The freshman, who wasn't even supposed to have pitched, put his name in the Steamboat Springs High School history book as the first pitcher to pick up a win against Moffat County.
Steamboat finished the game with 10 hits, six runs and five errors. The squad, 1-5 overall and 1-0 in league, is hoping to carry the momentum into it's next game this Thursday night in Glenwood Springs. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in league play this season.
Steamboat 1 3 0 2 0 0 0 6
Moffat County 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 5