Published: April 1, 2014
MONUMENT - Once Jake Weems finally got warmed up, the Palmer Ridge pitcher dominated Cheyenne Mountain on Tuesday.
It just took him a little while to reach that point.
The senior right-hander retired 13 of his final 15 batters after a shaky start, and Carter Thorne triggered a comeback with a two-run triple in the fifth inning, as the Bears rallied for a 4-2 home win over the Indians.
"We joke around that he needs 30 to 45 pitches before he gets in a groove," Palmer Ridge coach Steve Whiting said. "But that's what he does. With him, we just try to keep it close for the first couple of innings until he gets in his groove. When he does, we're good to go."
Weems (1-1), who struck out nine and walked three, misfired on the game's first seven pitches but was aided by a double play, then got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning.
He couldn't escape damage in the third.
After retiring the first two batters, Matt Reynolds and Cody McCurry stroked consecutive run-scoring singles to give the Indians (0-6, 0-3 4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) a 2-0 lead.
After McCurry's hit, however, only two more Indians reached base on a single and walk in the fifth inning. Weems set down the next seven, four by strikeout, and didn't allow the ball out of the infield.
Palmer Ridge (5-2, 3-0) rallied in the fifth against Indians starter McCurry. With one out, Jack Stamper doubled to deep center and Cole Hurford walked. Thorne then smashed a McCurry hanging 2-2 curveball into the gap in right-center, tying the game at two.
"He (McCurry) did a great job of mixing it up, and he had me off balance all day," said Thorne, who went 2-for-3 but struck out with runners at second and third in the third inning. "He left the curveball up, I timed it up and it went in a good spot."
Weems followed with an infield popup to second that Clayton Newman dropped for an error, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
"Those first couple of innings, I felt like I wasn't ready to pitch," Weems said. "I needed more time in the bullpen. Once we started to put up runs, it fired up the whole team and got that momentum going. It's sure easier to pitch when you have the lead."
The Bears added an insurance run in the sixth, taking advantage of another Indians defensive lapse.
With two out and Evan Sandberg on first, Billy Schulze hit a pop fly to shallow center field, but fell between center fielder Jordan Bieber and Newman as Sandberg came all the way around to score.
McCurry (0-3) struck out six and walked three while scattering eight hits.
"We've lost the last three games I've started, and we led 8-1, 7-3 and 2-0," McCurry said. "I have to figure out how to finish, and our team has to figure out how to make plays. We're going through a rough patch, but we won't let this get us down."