FLORENCE — Sometimes a vacation isn’t always what’s needed. Especially when it comes to a sport as rhythm-based as baseball.
The scoreboard may have shown Manitou Springs come away with a double-header sweep over Florence on Monday, but saying that sound baseball was played would be a bit of a stretch.
The CHSAANow.com eighth-ranked Mustangs came away with 9-4 and 6-3 wins in their first league games, but in a way, they didn’t feel like they left the city of Florence with a pair of wins.
“I just felt like we didn’t have any flow today,” coach Cory Archuleta said. “We were lethargic and lazy and we weren’t good at the things we’re normally good at.”
That’s not to say it was all bad. In game one, Brennan Allen had a solid day on the mound for the Mustangs (5-1 overall, 2-0 Tri-Peaks West). He threw a complete game, giving up only three earned runs while striking out 10 batters.
He was helped out offensively by Davyn Adamscheck who went 3-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored.
The Huskies (2-5, 0-2) had pulled close on runs scored by Dominic Bellino and Alec Lucero in the bottom of the third. They added one more in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Manitou lead to 5-4.
Adamscheck’s biggest at-bat of the game came when he started the Mustangs off with a double that he snagged an extra base out of thanks to an error. Up one with two outs and Adamscheck on third, a passed ball made it a two-run game and Manitou would only increase the lead for Allen.
“It felt like I needed to do more to back up my team at that point,” Allen said. “I needed to throw strikes and we needed to make sure our defense worked and we were getting outs.”
Florence couldn’t get the bats going again and Allen struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Mustangs the win in their first game back from spring break.
But in the process, the Mustangs committed two big errors and left five runners on base.
But things wouldn’t be quite so easy in game two, even with Manitou getting off to a quick start offensively.
James Baker ripped a 2-RBI single into right field, putting the Mustangs up 3-0 early. But Garrett Proud turned in a solid pitching performance for the Huskies. He didn’t allow a Manitou hit for four innings, but the Florence was able to score three of their own. The Mustangs grabbed a 4-3 lead, but Proud didn’t allow another Manitou hit for four innings.
“It’s always about pitching,” Florence coach Shane Reeves said. “He settled in, he had control of all of his pitches. Garrett pitched a really really good game and that changes everything.”
It really did for the Huskies. They left four runners on base, which can sink teams in one-run games. They Mustangs got two more runs in the top of the seventh to make it a three-run game, but they were more than aware how much they struggled at the plate.
“We haven’t seen a lot in practice, so the curveballs threw us off a lot,” Allen said. “We weren’t ready for that second game.”
Manitou came away with the win in big part of Archuleta’s decision to have Adamscheck throw the last four innings of the game.
The senior struck out five of the first six hitters he faced. Not another Husky would reach base when Adamscheck took the mound.
The struggle for Archuleta is trying to find a reliable fill-in at shortstop. Monday, he turned to freshman Joey Allen who came up with two big plays to help the Mustangs get the win.
“Davyn is always the ace in the hole,” Archuleta said. “It was nice to see a freshman like Joey Allen step in and play short. That was our biggest concern was having someone play that position.”
The Mustangs have just over a week before they see another Tri-Peaks opponent. They travel to Rye on Apr. 11. It will be 12 days for Florence as they’ll host Buena Vista on Apr. 15.