»CSA Game of the Week
Going into the last round of games before the playoffs begin, four of the six playoff seeds were set in CSA’s Bronco Division. Of the three Bronco level games contested on May 4 at Montrose Community Park, only one had impact on playoff seeding: Kiwanis vs LRM. Whichever team prevailed would claim the No.3 seed, with their opponent claiming the less advantageous No. 4 seed.
LRM’s starting pitcher Roy Choe started in typically fine form, fanning the Kiwanis’ lead off batter. Hitting in the No. 2 slot, Kagen Christoph reached first on a tightly contested fly to short right center. Successfully stealing against LRM’s ace catcher Chad Ruf’s strong arm, he scored the Kiwanis’ only run in the opening frame on Anthony Cabrera’s hard shot to left.
Seeking to recoup what he had so grudgingly given up, Choe led off LRM’s counter attack. On the second pitch from Kiwanis’ Eli Weber, Choe knocked a rocket blast to the left field fence. In light of “Da Bullet’s” well-known and impressive speed on the bases, Choe scored an easy home run despite a fine defensive effort by the Kiwanis outfield relay. An easy romp for Choe, few others on the field – on either team – would have been able to match his pace.
Struggling against LRM’s desperate offensive onslaught, the Kiwanis managed to barely prevent LRM from batting around, but controlled the damage by only allowing two additional runs.
Both teams settled in for a back and forth battle with each conceding only two runs apiece in the second frame, highlighted by the only double play of the game. After Nathaniel Burke’s triple, LRM’s Tyler Lobianco reached after getting plunked. Advancing to third on Choe’s triple, LRM had two runners in scoring position, and threatened to break the game open with power hitter Mason Van Kempen at the plate.
As all who face him fear, Van Kempen promptly punched the ball high in the air to center, only to have it plucked in flight by the sure glove of Nick Lopes, who quickly relayed it back to pitcher Weber. Weber quickly tossed the ball to third, catching Lobianco off guard, and off base, for the second out.
With the game favoring LRM by the slim margin of two runs, Kiwanis began their own onslaught. Weber quickly demonstrated that Choe wasn’t the only pitcher in the game with the power to score on his own hit, crushing Choe’s 2-1 pitch to deep center for his own home run. In the middle of each going three-for-three on the afternoon, Cabrera and Luke Weingarten scored, with Lopes driving in Will Johnstone for a fourth run of the inning
At the top of the fourth, both teams brought in their closers: LRM’s Nathaniel Burke and the Kiwanis’ David Sanchez. Each was more than effective, clearly demonstrating in different fashion why they have earned their titles. Each gave up only two runs apiece over their two innings on the mound. Burke’s nasty penchant for giving up only soft ground balls earned his infielders multiple easy plays, which they took advantage of for equally easy outs.
Sanchez, the Kiwanis’ fireball change of pace pitcher, highlighted his afternoon by quickly picking off LRM’s Max Haire at second with his toss to shortstop Luke Weingarten for the Kiwanis’ final defensive out of the afternoon.
Given the back and forth of the scoring and the fine defensive play of both teams, the game showed the grit of all players with Kiwanis squeezing out a one run victory and securing the more advantageous seed for the upcoming playoffs.
Submitted by Kerry CHRISTOPH