Trouble in victory

Central coach bothered by errors in win over Poudre

Central’s Trey Garcia watches the flight of his RBI triple Wednesday in the first inning of the Warriors’ 15-7 victory over Poudre at Suplizio Field. Garcia added two more hits, including a double, and finished 3 for 4 with three RBI and three runs.

Central erupted for nine runs in the first inning, ripping three triples among seven hits.

The Warriors got four strong innings from starting pitcher Jeremy Champlin, then a good final two innings from reliever Alberto “Junior” Saldamando.

And when the final out was recorded, Central had a 15-7 victory over Poudre in a nonleague baseball game Wednesday at Suplizio Field.

All of that was good. But Warriors coach Chuck Yost couldn’t help but focus on one really big negative: Central made five errors. It got away with the mistakes against Poudre, but the Warriors will play tougher teams against whom five errors will add up to a lopsided loss.

“We’ve got to play better defense,” Yost said. “We have to take better care of the baseball. That’s 11 errors in the last two games. That’s not going to cut it.”

A second negative gnawed at his baseball brain, too. For the second time in four games, Central (3-1) had a chance to end a game with the 10-run rule after five innings, only to let the opponent score enough runs in the top of the fifth to take the game the full seven innings.

“I’m sounding pretty negative about a win,” Yost admitted, “but we definitely have some things we need to improve.”

Of the things the Warriors did well, the first inning stood out. Central sent 13 batters to the plate and collected seven hits, two walks and a hit batsman as it chased Poudre’s starting pitcher after 10 batters.

Leadoff batter Brandon Martinez laced a triple down the left-field line, Champlin was hit by a pitch, and Tanner Huskey and Michael Price each hit run-scoring singles for a 2-0 lead. One out later, Trey Garcia and Alex Schaneman hit back-to-back triples. Two walks and another out later, Champlin and Huskey concluded the outburst with run-scoring singles.

But the second inning brought the beginning of the ball booting that Yost wants to the Warriors to clean up. Two errors led to a run by the Impalas (0-3).

Central made another error in the third inning and one in the fourth but led 13-1 after doubles by Garcia and Martinez fueled a four-run inning. At that point, too, Champlin had limited Poudre to one run on four hits, and he hadn’t walked or hit a batter.

The Impalas spoiled the Warriors’ 10-run-rule bid by hitting the ball hard, collecting six hits and a hit batsman to plate six runs. Three of those hits were for extra bases.

Champlin weathered the inning, then Yost sent Saldamando to the mound. A senior, Saldamando pitched for the first time on varsity Wednesday.

Saldamando overcame a single and a walk in the sixth inning to escape unscathed, then a 5-4-3 double play erased the runner who reached base on an error to open the seventh, giving him two scoreless innings.

He also drove in a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly.

“Junior Saldamando did a great job on the mound for us,” Yost said. “He’s played all four years in our program, and this is his time to move up to varsity. He’s going to have to be a role guy, and we need him to do exactly what he did today.”

Garcia led Central’s 12-hit attack with three hits, including a triple and a double, and he drove in three runs and scored three times. Martinez added two hits, both for extra bases, and a walk, and he drove in two runs and scored twice. Huskey and Schaneman each had two hits and two RBI.


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