Eaton’s drive to title takes out Tigers

Brian Miller
Posted 5/31/12

GREELEY - For the fourth year in a row, Holy Family’s baseball team found itself playing on the final weekend of the Class 3A state tournament in …

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Eaton’s drive to title takes out Tigers

GREELEY - For the fourth year in a row, Holy Family’s baseball team found itself playing on the final weekend of the Class 3A state tournament in Greeley.
Just like the previous three years, the Tigers’ season came down to a meeting with a perennial powerhouse in Eaton.
The Reds exploded for eight first-inning runs Saturday morning, and a two-run home run in the fifth inning off the bat of Britten Abbott enforced the mercy rule for a 12-2 Eaton victory at Butch Butler Field.
Holy Family (17-7) saw its season come to a close a day earlier than it had from 2009-11.
“You’ve got to tip your caps - they just hit the ball,” Tigers sophomore Devlin Granberg said. “They waited off bad pitches, they swung at really good ones. We only had one error all day.
“It’s tough, but there’s not much you can do when they’re hitting every single hole and they’re just scoring runs. That first inning was just demoralizing for us.”
Eaton (23-4) returned to Butch Butler on Saturday and defeated Lamar and Brush to capture the school’s 10th state baseball championship. The previous title came in 2009 when the Reds defeated Holy Family twice in the double-elimination tournament, including a 13-0 decision in the title game.
In 2010 Holy Family repaid the favor with an 11-1 victory over Eaton to capture its first championship. In 2011 the Tigers eliminated Eaton 6-5 to advance to the title game, where Faith Christian won it all.
“You don’t plan on usually beating Eaton by scoring eight or more runs. Usually when we beat them it’s with five or six runs and our pitching and defense did the job,” Holy Family coach Marc Cowell said. “You put that eight runs up in the first inning and you know you’re in for tall task.
“But I give our guys a lot of credit. They could have rolled over and just let the game get out of hand, but they battled all the way to that last hit.”
Holy Family, after opening the tournament with victories over Faith Christian and Olathe, fell to Brush on the first weekend of play. That set up the battle with Eaton, which quickly took control Saturday.
A run-scoring single from Tyler Batt put the Reds up 1-0 and Abbott walked to load the bases. Tigers senior Louis Simpson struck out the next two hitters, but barely grazed Bryce Dyer on the chest to force in a run. Three consecutive hits made it 6-0 and chased Simpson, and a two-run error put Eaton up by eight before Granberg struck out Batt.
“You start pressing and you can’t play this game pressing,” Granberg said of the deficit. “You can’t play it tight. Eight runs is a lot for a game - you know you have an absolutely huge mountain to climb and that’s always looming in the back of your mind.”
Dyer singled in a run in the second inning, but the Tigers got on the board in the third on a sacrifice fly by Joe Walls. Abbott made it 10-1 in the bottom of the frame, and Garrett West singled in the Tigers’ final run before Abbott ended the game in the fifth with a deep drive off Adrian Do.
Granberg was 2-for-2 with a double, triple and a walk. West had two hits and Jacob Tinnon added a double.
Walls, West and Simpson are the team’s only seniors, leaving a crop of young talent to lead the way next spring.
“I owe the seniors a big thank you because they made it to the final four in four straight years,” Cowell said. “Not class has ever done that at Holy Family. They kind of set the stage that I think these younger guys will follow suit.”


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