LAKEWOOD• Jake Grubesic wasn’t worried about who the other pitcher was, even if that pitcher had a half dozen scouts in the stands with radar guns.
Grubesic went out and threw a one-run, six-hit complete game to lead Palmer Ridge past Evergreen 4-1 in the first round of the Class 4A state baseball playoffs on Friday at All-City Park.
“I took the mound and I was like all I have to do is throw strikes,” Grubesic said. “I’m not really worried about who I’m pitching against, I’m more worried about how our team does.”
The Bears (16-6) will play the winner between Niwot and Green Mountain at 3 p.m. Friday.
The opposing pitcher, Brock Burke, is committed to Oregon. All those radar guns were pointed at Burke’s every pitch through the first three innings.
But in that same time, the Bears batters scored three runs on four hits and four walks. They tagged Burke for another run and another walk in the fourth to grab the 4-1 lead over the Cougars (18-4). Cole Hurford had RBIs in both innings.
“Part of our game plan was to see a lot of pitches, to make him throw,” Bears coach Steve Whiting said. “We just knew if we were patient at the plate and made things happen, good things would happen.”
It was more than enough for Grubesic. The Bears ace needed just 73 pitches to go the distance. He never faced more than four batters in an inning through the first six. The only serious trouble he faced was in the seventh when the Cougars hit back-to-back singles with two outs. But as he’d done all game, Grubesic forced a pop up — one of 13 fly-ball outs — to end the threat and the game.
“He’s not going to go out and get nine strikeouts, 10 strikeouts a game,” Palmer Ridge coach Steve Whiting said. “He hits his spot and uses his defense.”
Check back later for an update after Palmer Ridge’s late game.