Elite error prone in Colorado
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
Garden City Elite head coach Lyle Befort was looking to have a few questions answered over the weekend.
His Legion Post No. 9 baseball team traveled to Pueblo, Colo., to take on a few talented teams in a three-day tournament, giving the Elite players a chance to see a level of play they perhaps had not seen previously this season.
Befort got his answers.
The Elite can hit with anybody. Their pitchers are good, when they hit their spots. But the fielding has a long way to go, as the Elite went 2-2 to finish fourth out of eight teams on Friday through Sunday.
"We saw some really good teams up there," Befort said in a telephone interview on Sunday afternoon. "We finally saw some teams that can hit the ball. My pitchers got to realize they need to hit their spots — they need to keep it low."
The Elite finished the weekend on a low point, falling 15-2 to Loaf 'N Jug, out of Pueblo, in Sunday's tournament finale.
Starter Thomas Solorio was knocked around for 11 runs — eight earned — in just 2 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up six hits and five walks and struck out just one, taking the loss and falling to 2-1.
However, it was the four errors in that game — 15 combined in the four tournament games — that had Befort the most worried.
"That's the one thing we've got to work on," Befort said.
It especially cost the Elite in Saturday's opener against Colorado Instruction, where Befort and crew built a 6-1 lead through three innings.
"I told (the players), 'If we play the way we've been playing, it's over,'" Befort said.
Instead, the Elite committed a pair of errors in the bottom of the fourth, leading to five runs for the instructional team, en route to the 13-8 loss for the Elite.
Only two runs were earned by the Instruction.
"We had to make plays, and we kind of tightened up," Befort said.
Davin Acker took the loss, despite giving up just one earned run over 4 1/3 innings. However, he did allow nine runs with seven hits and five walks. Acker dropped to 3-1.
The Elite bounced back in Saturday's nightcap against Pueblo Central, winning a 14-11 slugfest, clubbing 15 hits, six of the extra-base variety, and stealing three bases.
Daniel Flores (2-0) got the win in relief, tossing three innings of one-run ball after starter Ivan Guttierrez was hit around for 10 runs through three innings.
Solorio and Marcus Zapata provided the offensive punch with three RBIs each, with Solorio hitting four doubles in five at bats, and Zapata going 2 for 5 with a double.
"One thing I learned is our guys can hit with anybody," Befort said.
Combined with Friday's win over Pueblo West, the Elite are now 13-2.
"I love going to Colorado to face these good teams," Befort said. "It's a learning experience."
The Elite return to the diamond with a home doubleheader against Moscow Tuesday, beginning at 6 p.m. at Clint Lightner Stadium.
Garden City 051 000 2 -- 8 10 6
Colorado 100 651 x -- 13 8 2
Statistics for Colorado incomplete.
Acker, Ruiz(5), Flores(6) and Solorio. Rogers. W--Rogers. L--Acker (3-1). 2B--Garden City, Dechant, Rodriguez.
Garden City 326 011 1 -- 14 15 1
Pueblo Central 420 400 1 -- 11 13 2
Statistics for Pueblo Central incomplete.
Guttierrez, Flores(4), Montoya(7) and DeHerrerra. Casados, Arellano(3), Ellis(7). W--Flores (2-0). L--Ellis. 2B--Garden City, Zapata, Solorio 4, Acker.
Garden City 001 01 -- 2 6 4
Loaf 'N Jug 605 4x -- 15 10 1
Statistics for Loaf 'N Jug incomplete.
Solorio, Rodriguez(3) and DeHerrerra. Ausben. W--Ausben. L--Solorio (2-1).