WINDSOR — I see your Owen Lockner and I’ll raise you a Weston Siefken.
Windsor’s ace, Lockner, was much ballyhooed with his sparkling 0.58 earned run average and other numbers that had you believe that he was untouchable.
But on Saturday, even spotted a 2-0 first inning lead, Lockner was susceptible. The first pitch he threw to senior Emmanuel King in the top of the fourth was belted over the left field fence and proved to be the difference in 3-2 win for the Tigers that put them in a tie with the Wizards atop the Tri-Valley League.
“Every time we beat Windsor, that is big for us simply because they are the team in the league to beat,” said coach Marc Cowell, whose team improved to 14-5 overall and 10-2 in the TVL. “To me the biggest win sicne we’ve been up in 4A is the Longmont win at state, but this one is right up there as well.”
The win will go a long way for the Tigers, who sit No. 9 in the latest RPI rankings with a one week to play and should they win out in their final four games of the season, almost assure them a top eight finish and a host position in the regional round of the state playoffs.
“That’s why this one is just so big,” Cowell finished.
The Wizards, who won at Holy Family 5-1 on Thursday afternoon, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning courtesy of yet another unearned run. A throwing error by catcher Jacob Callaway allowed Locker to score from third and Logan Thornton came around two batter later on Braden Martinez’s single to left.
The Windsor faithful thought it would be more than enough for Locker, who had been lights out for the Wizards all season long.
But in the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers got to the Windsor ace.
A lead-off walk by Zach Becker was followed two batters later by a Callaway walk that had runners at 1st and 2nd with one out. Matt Delgado appeared to ground into an inning ending double play, but the transfer throw from short to first got away and allowed Becker to score and keep the inning alive for Emmanuel King.
The senior third-baseman hammered the first pitch he saw from Lockner over the left field fence to put the Tigers up 3-2.
“It didn’t feel like it was going out off the bat,” said King, whose team struck out a combined 16 times on Saturday and 29 times in the two game set against Windsor. “But it got up in the air and kept carrying for me.
“I was really just looking for a fastball, one that was in the zone and lay off the curveball. He fooled me a few times, but I was looking for it.”
Said Cowell of his No. 7-hole hitter: “We knew that the margin of error was going to be very slim today and we always preach, just put the ball in play and put the pressure on the defense and if Delgado doesn’t put the ball in play, and the error doesn’t happen, Emmanuel’s at-bat never happens. It starts back there and in a tight game like this, it just takes one guy to make a connection, and Emmanuel did it today for us.”
The rest of the game belonged to senior pitcher Weston Siefken. After the shaky first inning, the Colorado School of Mines recruit settled down and only allowed on more hit the rest of the way en route to striking out 11 for the game.
The biggest jam was in the bottom of the fifth. He gave up a one out double to Tanner Rogers. But five pitches later, after a pitch in the dirt, Rogers’ pinch runner Coen Rossow was gunned down at third by Callaway for our No. 2. The very next pitch, Sieken struck out Trent Schumacher to get out of the inning.
“He’s been doing that for three years on the mound for us, and we know when he is up there that we have a chance to beat anyone,” Cowell said. “It’s just a great luxury to have.”
The Tigers still have some work to do in the final week of the regular season against Fort Morgan, Skyline and Frederick; but should they win out they will likely earn a share of the TVL title and a top-8 seed in the 4A tournament.
HOLY FAMILY 3, WINDSOR 2
Holy Family (14-5, 10-2) 000 300 0 — 3 3 1
Windsor (15-4, 11-2) 200 000 0 — 2 3 0
W — Siefken. L — Lockner.
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-bi) — McGowan 4-0-0-0, Baker 3-0-0-0, Becker 1-1-0-0, Kringlen 3-0-1-0, Cooney 0-0-0-0, Callaway 2-0-1-0, Delgado 3-1-0-0, King 3-1-1-2, Perez 2-0-0-0 Siefken 2-0-0-0, Hammond 1-0-0-0. Totals 24-3-3-2. HR — King (one on in the 4th).
Windsor hitting — Baessler 3-0-1-0, Morfin 3-0-0-0, Lockner 2-1-0-0, Warner 0-0-0-0, Thornton 2-1-0-0, Martinez 3-0-1-1, Myatt 2-0-0-0, Bonner 1-0-0-0, Hinson 2-0-0-0, Emil 0-0-0-0, Rogers 2-0-1-0, Rossow 0-0-0-0, Schumacher 2-0-0-0. Totals 22-2-3-1. 2B — Rogers.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — W. Siefken 7-3-2-1-1-11.
Windsor pitching — Lockner 5.2-3-3-2-4-12, Martinez 1.1-0-0-0-0-4.