George Washington baseball hangs on for victory at Green Mountain

George Washington junior Atticus Swigris attempts to put his bat on the ball as Green Mountain catcher Matthew Hinnen prepares to block the ball in the dirt late Tuesday afternoon at Green Mountain High School. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

LAKEWOOD — George Washington kept slamming the door on Green Mountain late Tuesday afternoon on the baseball field.

The Patriots was able to cling to a one-run lead despite facing plenty of danger in the final three innings on the Rams’ home field. Green Mountain (2-7 record) had the game-tying run at third base with less than two outs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Green Mountain junior Danny Wisor slides over home plate after successfully avoiding the tag of George Washington catcher Quinten Crum during the first inning Tuesday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

However, George Washington (5-1, 3-1 in 5A/4A Denver Prep League) escaped each scoring threat to hang on for a 6-5 victory.

“George Washington played a clean game,” Green Mountain coach Brad Kidwell said. “We had a lot of traffic on the bases and they got out of it.”

Senior Tyler Ray nailed down the victory on the hill for the Patriots. Green Mountain junior Braydon Schulz laced a line-drive single in the bottom of the seventh inning to put a pair of Rams on the bases with no outs. Ray successfully got out of the jam by fielding a sacrifice bunt and then got back-to-back strikes to end the game win the tying run at third and winning run at second.

“Facing a non-conference team that we haven’t beaten in a while we just wanted to come out here and grind with them. We knew they were a good ball club,” said Ray referring to Green Mountain defeating George Washington 3-0 last year. “For us it was about putting more runs up and playing solid defense behind our pitchers. It felt good to get this one.”

Green Mountain senior Michael Busse rips a two-run single for the Rams during the first inning. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

George Washington did its offensive damage in the first and fifth innings, putting up a three spot in both frames. Senior Michael Guber delivered RBIs in both innings for the Patriots.

Green Mountain junior Danny Wisor hammered a solo home run to start the bottom of the fifth inning to pull the Rams within a run, but it would be the final run of the game.

“I think that was a winnable game that we probably should have won,” said Green Mountain senior Michael Busse, who had a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning.

Busse also walked and was hit by a pitch. It has been a long road for the senior third baseman. A hip injury his junior season would eventually require surgery. This winter a serious illness hospitalized Busse.

“We were pretty sure that I wouldn’t play again,” Busse said. “To be out here is an absolute blessing.”

Kidwell is optimistic his team can turn things around during Class 4A Jeffco League play.

George Washington junior Aidan Franklin, left, eyes a pop fly during the Patriots' 6-5 victory Tuesday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“There is more heart on this team and they are working hard,” Kidwell said. “We just have to figure out how to win. I like the future of the program. We just have to put it together.”

Green Mountain starts its 12-game conference schedule next week against Evergreen. The Cougars are coming off back-to-back appearances in the 8-team 4A state tournament.

“I think a lot of those games are winnable,” Busse said heading in conference play that begins Tuesday, April 9, against Evergreen. “Having a winning record in league is a big expectation.”

Ray believes George Washington can content for the conference title in the Denver Prep League.

“We want to prove we can win that division (Denver Prep League) too,” Ray said.

Green Mountain junior pitcher Ethan Shallenberger fires to the plate Tuesday against George Washington. The Rams suffered a 6-5 loss. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)