Costly errors sink Broncs

By Ryan Lewis -

The Blair Broncs traveled to Fletcher to play 4:30 p.m. Thursday and battle the Fletcher Wildcats in a game that ended in dramatic fashion.

The Broncs are coming off a 16-8 spring season and return seven of their nine starters from that team. Needless to say, expectations are high throughout the small town of Blair.

But things did not start off quite as they were hoping.

All-in-all, there were three lead changes before the game came to an end and unfortunately, the Broncs were on the wrong side of the final change.

The Broncs’ Brooks Cross was left stranded in the top of the first inning after being hit by an Ampron pitch. The Broncs were unable to capitalize, as Wildcat ace Caleb Ampron was on target early striking out two of the four batters he faced.

Carson Funk got things started for the Wildcats with a ground ball single to left field off a Brayden Gray pitch.

It was just one of the many things to go wrong for Gray during the game.

Both Ampron and Logan Donhue earned walks before a Tyler Smith ground ball to center field brought both Funk and Ampron across the plate for the first two runs of the game.

Gray was able to regain some control and caught Hunter Stanley looking for a strikeout but a Zane Hawk line drive single drove in Donhue and capped off a three run inning for the Wildcats.

Blairs bats came to life in the top of the second inning as Kaden Hans reached second on a Wildcat error. Saige Knight singled to center field on a ground ball and drove Hans in to put the Broncs on the board.

Skyler Scott grounded out and Ivan Smith struck out looking before Baylor Downing was walked by Ampron. Payson Ramirez took advantage of a good situation and singled to right field, scoring Knight in the process.

Keaton Christian flew out to the shortstop to end the Broncs’ rally.

Gray caught Cameron Funk looking for his second strikeout of the game, and was able to get Keegan Ampron to fly out for the second out.

It looked like luck had finally swing the Broncs way until Mason Magoon was walked by Gray and Carson Funk reached second base on an error.

Magoon scored on a wild pitch and Funk reached third before Caleb Ampron drove him in with a single to center field.

Things were looking bleak for the Broncs as the bases began filling up, but they managed to escape further damage when Smith grounded out to end the inning.

The Wildcats had taken a 5-2 lead on the Broncs after a strong inning, prompting the Broncs to pull Gray and insert Scott which allowed the Broncs to hold them at five until the final inning of play.

In that time, the Broncs were able to put together some momentum when Christian scored in the top of the fifth, and Downing, Ramirez, and Christian all scored in the top of the sixth inning to take over the game with a 6-5 lead.

Unfortunately, after a series of errors, the Wildcats were able to regain the lead for good when Donhue scored on a fielder’s choice and Smith scored on a Funk fly ball to left field.

“I was really proud of our younger players, it seemed they carried the team,” said Broncs head coach B.J. Armstrong. “Our seniors have to have more production and I am fully confident that they will. We have lost too many close games like this in the past and we have to figure out a way to close out games when we have a lead late, but I am proud of the way they battled back and hopefully next time we will reward ourselves with a win instead of settling for a close loss.”

Brayden Gray pitched two innings and allowed five runs for the Broncs while Skyler Scott picked up the loss after pitching five innings and allowing two runs.

Payson Ramirez, Brooks Cross, and Saige Knight led all Broncs’ batters with a 1-for-3 showing and a run-batted-in for reach of them.

The Wildcats improve to 3-0 on the season while the Broncs are 0-1.

The Broncs will be at the Arapaho Tournament on Aug. 18-20.

By Ryan Lewis

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

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