CASTLE ROCK — For a team that wasn't on the receiving end of early breaks in the game, ThunderRidge sure looked the part of the CHSAANow.com No. 2-ranked team in the state.
Two fifth inning runs and a dominant performance on the mound from Tim McIntyre guided the Grizzlies to a 9-2 win over No. 7 Douglas County Wednesday.
"We had some go wrong for us in the first couple of innings that I thought things just weren't going to go our way," ThunderRidge coach Joe White said. "We had a picked off at second, a kid thrown out at third and a kid thrown out at home. If those three things happen, you usually don't win many baseball games."
But when push came to shove, the Grizzlies (8-1 overall, 2-0 Continental League) were able to do just enough.
Designated hitter Jake Eissler went 3-4 on the day with three singles, but was able to score the game-tying and game-winning runs. His single in the third inning was what got Brett Jones thrown out at third. But Chase Noell followed up Eissler's hit with a double, tying the game.
Eissler led off the fifth inning with another single, moved over to second on a walk and then scored on a Brody Perkins single, giving ThunderRidge the lead for good.
"One thing we were really bad at last year was overlooking games like this," Eissler said. "We'd try to hit bombs and hit everything deep and really all you need are three or four guys who will string together a couple of singles."
It doesn't hurt to have a solid pitcher on the mound either.
After scoring two runs and taking a first inning lead, the Huskies (8-2-1, 1-1) only advanced one runner to second base the rest of the game.
McIntyre was lights out, going six innings and only allowing five hits and one walk. He struck out five Douglas County hitters and knew that as long as he remained focus, his hitters would take care of business and snatch the lead from the Huskies.
"I knew my teammates had my back and they really pushed me through," McIntyre said. "I just had to do my best to compete like Coach says all the time. It helped me that I did that and it helped our team get the win."
Any thought of a Douglas County comeback was all but extinguished in the sixth inning. What started as a dropped third strike call in which Huskies coach Craig Gienger wanted the runner to be called out for interference.
The runner was ruled safe and the Grizzlies batted around in the sixth and scored seven runs in the inning.
"That call didn't lose the game for us," Ginger said. "It did get that inning going for them, though."
The end result certainly shows the Continental League is up for grabs across the board. Regis Jesuit has dropped some early games and no one can count out defending Class 5A state champion Rock Canyon.
"Anytime you get a win in the Continental League, it's a good thing," White said. "It doesn't matter what your record is, it doesn't matter what their record or anything. Anybody in this league can beat anybody."