Berthoud completes sweep of Erie in thrilling fashion

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Some wins just mean more than others. The Berthoud High School (BHS) baseball team got one of those wins Saturday morning at Jack Sommers Field at BHS as they rallied from a one-run deficit twice in the final two innings to best visiting Erie by a 6-5 final.

The come-from-behind win came on the heels of a 17-8 beat down the Spartans put on the Tigers two days prior. The pair of victories snapped a four-game skid for Berthoud and keeps their postseason hopes alive.

“In the sixth and seventh (inning) we had team at-bats, what I call selfless at-bats,” Berthoud Manager Buddy Kouns said after the game. “Those selfless at bats, where go up there looking for one pitch, one spot and if we don’t see it we’re not taking our hacks and that’s how the kids generated that rally at the end.”

In a game that had a little bit of everything – five hit batters, a balk, catcher’s interference, two great diving catches and clutch hitting by Berthoud – the Spartans got ultimately got the win when standout centerfielder Colin DeVore worked a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh that brought relief pitcher Quinn Oliver home for the winning run.

Jake Yuska turned in a phenomenal performance at the plate and was in the heart of Berthoud’s sixth- and seventh-inning rallies. Leading off in the bottom of the sixth with his Spartans trailing 4-3, Yuska notched his third single of the game, advanced to second on a perfectly-executed sacrifice bunt from nine-hole hitter Wyatt Stratmeyer and came home to tie the game on a single from senior third baseman Brogan Sontag.

A hit batter, a stolen base and passed ball allowed Erie’s Zach Elliston to score as the Tigers retook the lead 5-4 in the top of the seventh. Yet Yuska came through big for the Spartans again in the home half of the final inning. Chris DeSousa worked a walk to lead off the frame and advanced to second when Oliver reached on an Erie fielding error. Yuska’s clutch fourth base hit of the game brought DeSousa home to tie the score at 5-all. Stratmeyer and DeVore then exhibited patience as their selfless at-bats both resulted in free passes to the give Berthoud the walk-off win.

“Jake Yuska’s hit was gigantic, that was a gigantic, clutch hit,” Kouns said. Berthoud’s sixth-year manager, himself a Berthoud grad, explained that earlier in the game his Spartans were not patient at the plate. Through the first five innings, Berthoud was able to scratch out only two hits, both off Yuska’s bat, but scored three runs thanks to two hit batters, a balk, three walks and a pair of Erie errors.

“Where we got caught early in the game is we weren’t hitting our pitches, we getting impatient and we were hitting the pitcher’s pitches and getting ourselves out,” Kouns said. Erie brought in relief pitcher Sage Lutgens in the bottom of the sixth and his extraordinarily deliberate pitching motion kept the Spartans batters in the box for extended periods of time waiting for the pitch.

Yet Berthoud’s hitters were ultimately rewarded for their patience, something Kouns remarked on after the game saying, “You can take a pitcher out of rhythm by calling timeout but with our hitters, if you’re comfortable in the box you’re, not going to call timeout.”

Oliver and starting pitcher Josh Archer combined to fan 13 Tiger batters and allowed only three earned runs on five hits. Yuska paced the Spartans’ offense with four hits and two RBI.

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