Steamboat Springs This year's Steamboat Springs baseball team is arguably the best in school history, so the 15 errors the Sailors committed in two lopsided loses Saturday left both the coaches and players frustrated.
Steamboat fell to Delta 13-2 and 13-3 Saturday in Craig. While the Panthers are a top-10 program in Class 4A, the Sailors have a hard time believing they are 10 runs or more behind them.
"We started both games so strong and expected it to be close," coach Sean Hicks said. "We did so many things wrong. I know they are disappointed."
Hicks acknowledged that past Steamboat teams would take defeats and chalk them up to poor play on one afternoon. This year, he said, losing games stings more because the talent is there to compete with anyone in the league.
Even the Panthers' coach complimented Hicks on the improvements that have been made within the Steamboat program.
And that came on an afternoon where the Sailors were clearly not at their best.
Ryan Marsden's two-run home run in the first game gave Steamboat a chance, but Delta scored six runs in the top of the fourth and added three more in the fifth to create the 10-run cushion that forced the game to be called after five innings.
For the game, Steamboat had two runs on three hits with six errors. Delta had 13 runs on seven hits and one error.
Hicks said the team emphasizes the importance of keeping baserunners on first. In other words, errant throws or misplayed balls in the infield or outfield that cause a runner to advance to second only increase the chances the opposition will score.
Between games Saturday, it appeared as if the Sailors corrected the problems, stepping up to the plate in the top of the first and scoring two early runs.
With one out, Teal Taylor got an infield hit and stole second. Jeff Franks stepped in, singled and stole second as well.
With runners at second and third, David May, forced into the designated hitter slot after injuring his arm -- one of many banged-up players on Steamboat's bench -- grounded out to the right side, but Taylor easily scored from third on the play.
Franks followed Taylor in off Marsden's single and third RBI of the afternoon.
Delta tied up the game in its half of the first and added three more in the second. All three were unearned and came with two outs.
It appeared as if Steamboat seized some momentum back in the bottom of the third when an apparent home run off a Delta bat turned into an out when the player missed second base while rounding the bags.
The heads-up play by the Sailors ended the inning and kept the score close at 5-2.
Steamboat then added a run in the top of the fourth when Nick Hughes' single to center field brought in Preston Stanfill from second base.
The bottom of the fourth, however, did Steamboat in when Delta scored five runs. Four came with two outs and the help of Steamboat errors.
"We had no defensive effort at all," Murphy said. "There are no excuses. This just shows without defense we won't get close to anyone no matter how well we hit. We need to work harder."
The Sailors had three runs on four hits with nine errors. The Panthers had 13 runs on seven hits with one error.
One highlight from the afternoon, Hicks said, was the performance from Murphy on the mound.
The junior went four and one-third innings, throwing 95 pitches in the second game, limiting his walks and forcing a majority of the Delta batters to hit grounders.
Steamboat will look to get back into the win column when it travels to Battle Mountain Tuesday.