Windsor baseball falls in district tournament
May 14, 2017
WINDSOR — Josh Barker knows how to turn a great party into a good one.
Nonetheless, the Thomas Jefferson baseball team turned its bus ride home to Denver into a party bus after its 7-1 Class 4A Region 5 playoff victory over Windsor at Mo Kvamme Field.
Unbeknownst to TJ pitcher Connor Side, his teammates were ready to dogpile him after the second out in the bottom of the seventh inning Saturday afternoon.
Then along came Barker, who sent Side's first pitch over the left-field fence to break up a no-hitter.
The dogpile still took place and the Spartans (17-4) advance to the 4A Baseball Championships, while Windsor ends its season at 18-3.
Side, a left-hander with a body like a popsicle stick, slung his changeup effectively all afternoon as the Wizards played from behind from the first inning on.
"I had no idea I had a no-hitter going," a smiling Side said. "Not until the game was over."
Side can thank senior center fielder Jesse Axelrad roaming the outfield and chasing down fly balls like a combine at harvest.
Axelrad had six putouts — some of the standard type and others on the run.
The Wizards advanced a runner past second base only three times — including Barker's dinger, which was aided by wind.
"I hung a changeup and he got it," said Side, who is 4-2 on the season. "My changeup was my best pitch today. My fastball was all over the place."
Barker said his home run came on a fastball that was away, but added "the game just got away from us, and to lose really hurts."
For the record, Side was all over the place, walking seven while striking out just one.
"He was effectively wild," said TJ coach Graham Baughn.
Windsor coach Brad Deal dished out kudos to Side, adding "that kid threw well and Thomas Jefferson just flat-out beat us."
The Wizards were coming off a 10-2 victory over Wheat Ridge in the first round before TJ rallied in the late innings for an 11-1 victory over Summit.
"Our kids hung around here in between games, we fed them and were just excited to play," Deal said.
The Wizards maintained their discipline at the plate, but Side maintained his confidence as Windsor left only four runners stranded.
"We've worked hard on throwing three pitches for strikes," Baughn added. "I think (Side) did a good job of keeping a good-hitting Windsor team off-balance."
TJ senior right fielder Dylan Van Sky gave Side plenty to work with, finishing 3 for 3 with 4 RBI, which included a two-run homer in the second as the Spartans took a 4-0 lead.
Van Sky also had a two-run double in the fifth to greet Windsor reliever Zach Watts.
"I saw a lot of fastballs today," Van Sky said. "They were throwing a lot of first-pitch fastballs, so that's what I was looking for."
The Spartans pounded out 12 hits to go along with Side's crafty performance and Axelrad's outfield grace.
"I'm just really proud of our kids. … They did everything right until the last day," Deal said. "We just got beat today."
TJ 220 030 0 — 7 12 0
WHS 000 000 1 — 1 1 0
TJ — Connor Side (W, 4-2, 1H, 1ER, 7BB, 1SO) and Brandon Peters. 2B — Trystan Kimmel, Peters, Dylan Van Sky. HR — Van Sky (2nd, 1 on). RBI — Van Sky 4, Peters, Nick Bowermaster, Patrick McDuffie.
WHS — Ryan Jares (L, 10H, 7ER, 0BB, 6SO), Zach Watts (5th, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO) and Keegan Vialpando. HR — Josh Barker (solo, 7th). RBI — Barker.
WR 100 000 1 — 2 4 1
WHS 023 130 x — 9 10 1
WR — Aaron Arcilise (L, 9H, 9ER, 6BB, 4SO), Travis Cowan (5th, 1H, 0ER, 1BB, 1SO) and Abe Apodaca. RBI — Jack Marvel.
Home — Corte Tapia (W, 3H, 0ER, 3BB, 7SO), Alex Fietek (7th, 1H, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO) and Keegan Vailpando. 2B — Brandon Rhodes, Zach Watts, Tapia 2. RBI — Braden Penninger 3, Tapia 2, Bailey Brachtenbach, Mitchell Watson, Jared Jensen.