All spring, the Steamboat Springs High School baseball team has been subject to profanity and abuse for always being the away team.
There were four home doubleheaders on the schedule, but the first three were moved because the Emerald Park baseball field was still too wet. On Monday, May 16, Steamboat finally played a home game, celebrated its seniors and feasted on the glory of a rowdy student section.
“It’s nice to finally bring the fans here,” said senior Jake Hamric. “I think we’ve improved a lot this year as a team, especially with such a young team. I think that speaks to our strengths. There is a lot of brightness in this team and it’s good to show it.
The Sailors lost their home games 13-0 and 9-5, but enjoyed the atmosphere. The student section bordered on obnoxious with their beatings against Summit players, making fun of everything from their socks to their batting stance, telling them when to swing and betting them to hit certain parts of the field.
“There’s something about being on the dirt in your house that feels different,” rookie Jack Fischer said.
In Game 2, Steamboat fans called Summit pitcher Will Koll a “bone bruise” the entire game after Hamric beat Koll with a line drive in the first inning.
Hamric was the starting pitcher in Game 2, hoping to help the Sailors come back after a quick 13-0 four-inning loss in Game 1. Coach George Ibarra prioritized giving playing time to his seniors, which was easy as they are two of the most consistent players.
With Hamric on the bump, the Tigers had eight runs in the first, but after that it was Steamboat’s game.
The top of the order was on fire, as point guard Jessie Hamric had two hits, as did No. 3 hitter Ben “Boomtown” Bogan. In the third set, Bogan showed his strength. Jessie Hamric picked the first pitch he saw, and Dawson Holmes hit an error, going two with one out for “Boomtown” Bogan.
Bogan powered the ball deep into center field, where it bounced off the yellow box up the fence and out, scoring three runs for the Mariners.
Summit added one more run in the third, but Jake Hamric was put out after the first, striking out seven Tigers batters in four innings. Then Bogan took over on the mound. He struck out three while firing hits to keep the visitors off the board.
To start the seventh, Steamboat had all the ingredients for a comeback, kicking off the inning with leadoff hitter Jessie Hamric. Jessie Hamric singled, but Holmes hit behind him. Bogan tripled, bringing in Jessie Hamric and sending Jake Hamric home plate.
Jake Hamric hit a slide first, which tagged Bogan to make it 9-5. However, after inspecting his bat, the umpire called Jake Hamric. Jay Phillips tried to hold the comeback, but was first sent off to end the match.
For a team that barely saw practice time on a pitch and only played two games on home turf, the Sailors were solid defensively.
“These kids, they fought for not being on a field and having to practice indoors or on a football field,” assistant coach Joel Cobb said. “To actually get out here to be able to see real pitch and for them to be in front of their friends and family is a game-changer.”
Seniors Bogan, Jake Hamric and Walker Ripley – who had foot surgery on Monday morning and attended on crutches – were honored between games.
“Jake, Ben and Walker, great role models, great guys to look up to,” Fischer said. “Wonderful players and also wonderful men off the pitch. That’s who I would like to be like one day.”
Summit 13, Steamboat Springs 0
S 472 0XX X – 13 9 1
SS 000 9XX X – 0 2 0
Summit 9, Steamboat Springs 5
SS 003 000 2 – 5 9 4
S 801,000 X – 9 7 4
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.