Baseball: Grandview takes break from Centennial League chase to top ThunderRidge at Coors Field

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Grandview senior pitcher Nick Morris (11) delivers a pitch during the sixth inning of the Wolves’ 9-1 non-league baseball win over ThunderRidge on May 6, 2016, at Coors Field in Denver. Morris worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the sixth to help preserve the win for the Wolves, who improved to 13-4. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | A single swing by Tyson Hays gave the Grandview baseball team a needed shot of energy during a brutally long stretch of play in the last week of the season.

The junior catcher blasted a three-run home run just over the newly-raised fence down the left field line at Coors Field, which got the Wolves off and running on their way to a 9-1 non-league victory over ThunderRidge Friday afternoon.

Adam Neiber also gave coach Scott Henry’s Grandview team a lift with his two-run inside the park home run that was part of a five-run sixth inning that put the Wolves in control against the Grizzlies in a battle of two of Class 5A’s best teams on the home field of the Colorado Rockies.

“We haven’t been playing well the last week, especially offensively and I think Tyson got us going,” Henry said. “He gave us a little bit of a life there, so that was exciting and then Adam Neiber with his inside the parker, which was exciting also. We got some pretty good energy from those guys.”

The game — which ended in the top of the seventh inning due to a two-hour time limit — gave Grandview a brief break from the rigors of a Centennial League chase. The Wolves (13-4, 11-2), who play a pivotal road contest again co-league leading Mullen (13-5, 11-2) at 2 p.m Saturday, were able to win while getting regulars some rest and let 14 seniors get to experience playing at Coors Field.

The pitching duo of starter Dylan Bowers and reliever Nick Morris kept ThunderRidge, the second place team in the Continental League, at bay while the offensive got to work.

Hays, the team’s batting leader with a .442 average, walked in his first at-bat at Coors Field and then went deep in his second trip to the plate for his first home run of the season.

“It was unimaginable, it was a good pitch and I got a good swing on it,” Hays said. “I didn’t think it was going to get out, but it made it. I didn’t try to do that, but it feels good now though…It’s the best park to play at. This is the first time for me playing here, so it was great.”

The Wolves tacked on another run in the inning for a 4-0 advantage which Bowers kept intact through his three innings on the mound.

Morris yielded a run in the bottom of the fourth inning, but induced a 6-4-3 double play to get out of more trouble.

Grandview boosted its lead with a five-run sixth inning, which included sacrifice flies by Ethan League and Jarod Graham and the home run by Neider, who hit a line drive that ThunderRidge’s center fielder misjudged a bit and allowed to get over his head and to the wall.

Coaching third base, Henry vigorously waived Neider around third base and to the plate when the Grizzlies had trouble getting the ball back to the infield quickly.

“It was exciting for me too,” Henry said.

Staked to a big lead, Morris proceeded to give up three consecutive singles to open the sixth, but left the bases loaded with three straight strikeouts.

“Coach told me to try to hurry up because we only had 10 minutes left to play, so I tried to get groundballs,” Morris said. “Didn’t really work out, so I thought I’d just start throwing strikes. Got one out and then thought we could get a double play but it didn’t happen, so I just kept striking them out.

“It is a different atmosphere, but to me it just feels like a big high school field. Hopefully we can take the carryover from this one into tomorrow.”

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

Grandview 9, ThunderRidge 1 (6 inn.)

Score by innings:

Grandview        004 005 — 9

ThunderRidge  000 100 — 12

WP — Grandview: Dylan Bowers (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Grandview hitting: Tyson Hays 1-1, HR, 3 RBI, run; Adam Neider 2-2, HR (inside the park), 3 RBI, run; Travis Parker 1-3, 2 runs; Andrew Coverly 1-1, 2B, run; Braden Sullivan 1-2, run; Gunnar Lamphere 1-2, 2B, run; Cade Crader 2-3, 2B; Tyler Smith 1-2, 2B, run; Garrett Gipson 1-1; Jarod Graham 0-2, RBI; Ethan League 0-2, RBI