As the first pitches of the baseball season popped catchers' mitts at Vista Ridge on Thursday, there was still an air of winter.
With Widefield leading Vista Ridge 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, a fly ball that got lost in the dark of the descending night forced umpires to call the game due to darkness. The game, which was 5-1 after five innings, stands as a win for Widefield and a loss for Vista Ridge.
Originally, coaches planned on finishing the game later in the season. But that was deemed implausible because the requisite amount of innings (five) had already been completed, George Demetriou, rules interpreter for the Colorado High School Activities Association told The Gazette via email on Friday. Had the teams resumed the game, it could have been ruled an extra game and possibly put both teams over the 19-game limit, Demetriou said.
The Wolves' bats had been limited to four hits and a run by Widefield starter Jacob Guthrie, who went five innings.
"I started off nervous, I'm not going to lie," said Guthrie, who didn't allow a hit until the third, when he allowed back-to-back singles but pitched out of the jam. "When I settled down, I found my groove a little bit."
His offense backed him nicely, using patience at the plate to work eight walks and five hits.
"From the start I liked that we hit the ball and ran the bases really well," Widefield coach John Sanchez said. "All the inside stuff we did this winter looked like it paid off."
Leadoff hitter Manny Balquin spotted Widefield a 2-0 lead with a two-out, two-run double in the second.
Dylan Watson put the Gladiators up 3-0 by working his way around the bases. He reached on a single. Advanced to second on an error. Stole third and scored on a passed ball.
The Gladiators stole seven bases.
A double by Chris Yalongo-Vigil put Widefield up 4-1.
With Guthrie pitching, the Wolves struggled to rally.
"It was definitely a sign on the bump of them taking care of business and doing what they needed to do and throwing strikes, where we were lacking." first-year Wolves coach Sam Baldwin said.
Vista Ridge wasn't as lucky on the bases. Widefield catcher Bret Stealey picked off two runners, including Vista Ridge's Dillon Cole, who drove in the Wolves' lone run but got caught trying to steal third with two outs.
"It was the first game of the season trying to shake some rust off," Cole said. "We were starting to pick up things, starting to pick up his pitches, see him a little better than before."