Published: April 8, 2014
FALCON - In about a minute Tuesday, Palmer Ridge starting pitcher Jake Grubesic watched a two-run lead evaporate before his eyes after an error and a wild pitch.
But instead of letting the adversity get the best of him, Grubesic grabbed a bat, reached base on an error the next inning and scored the eventual game-winning run, as the Bears stayed undefeated in Pikes Peak Athletic Conference play with a 5-2 road victory over Falcon.
"Everything we do, we do as a team," Grubesic said. "Our team will make mistakes. We got out of it and gave up only two runs, but we got three back the next time we came up."
Grubesic pitched around five hits and five walks in a complete-game victory, while Carter Thorne had a key, two-run single in the fifth for Palmer Ridge (6-2 overall, 4-0 4A PPAC), which dealt Falcon (4-4, 2-1) its first league loss.
"We let them have the momentum back," Falcons coach Don Thompson said. "You can't give the momentum to a good team."
Palmer Ridge grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning with two outs, thanks to a run-scoring double by Jake Weems followed by Evan Sandberg's RBI single.
But in the Falcon fourth, Wyatt Aaberg singled to left and went to second on a Trevor Alexander walk. The runners moved up on a double steal, and Bears third baseman Cole Hurford threw wildly trying to catch courtesy runner Tristin MacLeish at second, allowing Aaberg to score from third.
A few pitches later, MacLeish scored the tying run on Grubesic's wild pitch.
Grubesic led off the Palmer Ridge fifth, hitting a slow grounder that was fumbled by Falcons second baseman Jeff Vela. Following a Cassen Minarick single and a Billy Schulze walk that loaded the bases, the Bears took the lead for good on an RBI ground out by Jack Stamper that plated Grubesic from third.
After a walk to Hurford that reloaded the bases, Thorne looped an Alexander pitch into shallow right-center field for a 5-2 Bears lead.
"The most gratifying thing, as a leader, is to see us respond like that after they tied it," Schulze said. "That was huge for us."
Schulze stopped a couple of potential Falcon rallies himself, cutting down Andrew Bruntz and Adam Glauvitz trying to steal in the first and third innings, respectively.
"That set the tone," Bears coach Steve Whiting said. "Falcon is a running team. Billy squelched that with his arm."
Falcon put the first two runners on base in the sixth, but Grubesic, with the help of Schulze, retired the next three batters, then set down the Falcons in order in the seventh to help the Bears win their second straight after splitting four games over spring break in Arizona.
"They were getting a little momentum, so I wanted to stop that," Schulze said. "I went out to the mound to calm Jake down, to tell him not to be afraid of guys and to let them put the ball in play. We have the defense to make plays."