Steamboat Springs High School pitcher Ben Montoya had a great day on the mound Saturday. Unfortunately, the Sailors didn't have a good day at the plate.
Montoya collected three strikeouts and gave up just five hits in the team's 3-1 loss to Denver East at All City Stadium.
Coach Sean Hicks said poor hitting and two unearned runs overshadowed an otherwise inspiring pitching performance.
"Two unearned runs and two hits. That about sums up the game," Hicks said. "Ben did everything he needed to do to win the game. He kept the ball down in the strike zone and gave us a lot of easy ground-ball outs. But a few errors and our inability to hit the ball really hurt."
Montoya and teammate Jack Serhant were the only Sailors to get hits in the game -- both came in the first inning.
Montoya scored Steamboat's only run of the game in the top of the first inning on Serhant's single.
Denver East tied the game in the bottom half of the first inning and scored two more runs in the third thanks to errors in the field.
"Without those unearned runs it's a 1-1 ball game, a dogfight," Hicks said.
But once the Denver East team took the lead, Hicks said Steamboat struggled to get back into the game. Denver East pitchers combined for nine strikeouts in the game and gave up one walk.
While great pitching highlighted the first half of Saturday's doubleheader, it turned out to be Steamboat's downfall in the second half.
It took less than an inning for Denver East to chase Steamboat starter Nick Leader from the second game.
After giving up three runs, Leader was replaced by Serhant. But the change couldn't stop Denver East from netting four more runs and extending the lead to 7-0. Steamboat, the home team in this game, answered with two runs of its own, but trailed 7-2 at the end of the first.
Serhant pitched three innings in relief striking out four batters and giving up six runs on eight hits. Zach Savage finished the game. He gave up one run and two walks. He also struck out three batters.
Serhant and Aaron Hornstein were both 2-for-3 in the game and led Steamboat's offensive push. The Sailors posted eight hits in the game, and struck out just three times. The team added a run in the second and two more in the sixth to close the gap to 9-5, but couldn't sustain the rally in needed to get back in the game.
Denver East added another run in the top of the seventh helping to ensure the 10-5 victory.
"This team is very capable of winning games," Hicks said. "They have the skills, they know how to play the game and now they just have to go out and prove it to themselves. I can't teach them how to win. They need to discover how to do that on their own."