Paonia’s Pitt comes through with power in clutch
When Paonia’s Eddie Pitt stepped in the batter’s box in the ninth inning of Friday’s 11-10 win against Dolores, he wasn’t thrilled with how his game had gone.
As the starting pitcher, he had allowed eight runs in only one-third of an inning before he was replaced.
As soon as his bat made contact with the ball, though, Pitt went from struggling pitcher to clutch hitter with a double to bring in the game-winning run for the Eagles in the Class 2A District 2 championship at Canyon View Park.
“That turned my game around,” Pitt said. “I was down on myself and that hit brought it back.”
Dolores’ hitters got on Pitt early, recording six hits as the first eight batters reached consecutively, each of them eventually scoring for an 8-1 lead.
“We were making good, solid contact,” Dolores coach Jim Everin said.
“We were playing with a lot of emotion the first inning. Baseball is an emotional game and we just lost our momentum.”
Late in the first inning, Pitt was replaced by first baseman Blake Oard. Oard ended up pitching 52/3 innings, allowing only three hits. Jonathon Smith came on in the seventh to get the win. The Bears couldn’t rally in the bottom of the ninth after Pitt’s big hit.
“I got some good innings out of my first baseman,” Paonia coach Andy Braslin said.
“I told him that we’ve got to have strikes. We’ve got to have strikes and get the outs.”
A seven-run rally in the second inning tied it for the Eagles.
The teams stayed tied until Dolores’ Andrew Hill hit a leadoff home run. Paonia scored one run in the fifth and sixth innings.
Dolores manufactured a run in the seventh to send the game to extra innings.
Tyler Underwood reached base on a leadoff single and Austin Knuppel walked. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over and Underwood scored when Smith threw the ball over the third baseman’s head on a pickoff attempt.