Sailors close season with sweep

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The Steamboat Springs baseball team missed its goal of advancing to the postseason, but the Sailors closed their season with two wins Tuesday.

Behind solid pitching performances from senior Ben Montoya and sophomore Skylar Mitchell, the Sailors swept a doubleheader against Battle Mountain to wrap the 2005 season.

Steamboat won the first game, 17-3, in five innings and took the second game, 6-1, at the Craig Middle School field.

The games were scheduled in Steamboat but had to be moved because of the weekend snowstorms.

"We know we should have done better this season," Mitchell said. "When we lost, we made mental errors."

On Tuesday, the Sailors made minimal mistakes and consequently cruised to two victories. Of course, getting quality starts from the pitchers helps.

In the second game, Mitchell went seven innings and struck out six.

"My arm started to hurt in the second inning," Mitchell said. "Then I started to strike guys out, and it felt better."

In Mitchell's one previous varsity start, he didn't last an inning before coach Sean Hicks had to pull him for being ineffective. On Tuesday, he threw 94 pitches and looked as if he could have gone back to the mound for more.

The defense played well behind Mitchell and, after knocking in 17 runs in the first game, Steamboat did enough offensively to give the young right-hander his first varsity win.

Steamboat scored two runs in the top of the second. The first came off Colin Boyle's single up the middle that drove in Brian Aragon. Boyle later scored on a Battle Mountain error.

The Sailors added two more in the fifth when Nick Leader and Zack Savage scored on Aragon's double to the right-field fence.

The Huskies scored a run in the sixth, but the Sailors answered in the top of the seventh with two more. Montoya walked to lead off the inning, and Tyler Fosdick brought Montoya around on a double to left centerfield. Fosdick then scored on Savage's groundout to the shortstop.

Battle Mountain got its leadoff hitter on in the bottom of the seventh, but Steamboat ended the potential rally when Mitchell fielded a comeback hit to the mound and began the 1-6-3 double play.

Leader, Montoya and Fos-dick are the only graduating Steamboat seniors, but the three played important roles for the Sailors. Steamboat also loses Hicks, who announced his resignation at the beginning of the 2005 season.

He said there is a foundation for the next coach to build on.

"The biggest thing is finding the person or persons to step up and coach and continue this," he said. "I don't want to see these kids getting lazy."

A summer program has been created to allow the high school team to continue playing through the warmest months of the year. Those extra 20-plus games are important to development.

In Tuesday's first game, Montoya went five innings and struck out six.

He also was 3-for-4 from the plate with a double and three RBIs. Fosdick went 4-for-4, with a two-run home run to right centerfield.

Savage was 2-for-4, and the Sailors distributed the rest of the hits throughout the lineup.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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