GLENWOOD SPRINGS (5/3/14) – Asked whether his baseball team may have found a pitcher for next season in the final game of this one, Glenwood Springs coach Eric Nieslanik answered in the affirmative. Freshman Steve Romero, making his mound debut in game number 19, pitched 6 innings, allowing just 3 hits and one earned run, striking out 8, and getting the victory as the Demons survived Summit’s second 5-run 7th inning of the doubleheader to win, 10-7.
In the first game, Chase Nieslanik, looking for his 7th win of the season, had a 4-hitter and a 2-1 lead going into the last inning, but control problems and 3 Demon errors keyed a 5-run rally and an eventual 6-4 win for the Tigers.
But after the split, which gave Glenwood (10-9, 7-7) its first winning season since 2009, coach Nieslanik was raving about Romero’s performance, which included 86 pitches, 50 for strikes, and just three walks. “He (Romero) pitched a fantastic game. He’s very competitive; he didn’t want to come out.” After the 6th inning, ahead 10-2, Tristan Harris came on to pitch, with Romero returning to his regular shortstop position. “You very seldom get a freshman who jumps in and plays a middle infield spot (as Romero has),” the coach added.
Like Nieslanik in the first game, Harris’s control deserted him as he walked the bases full with one out, then got a strikeout, but walked in a run before Thomas DeBonville belted a grand slam home run over the left-field fence. “For just a moment, I thought about walking him,” pitching coach Pete Shaffner confided later, even though it would have forced in another run. With the lead cut from 8 to 3, Demon fans had visions of déjà-vu, but Harris got clean-up hitter Ben Hull to ground out, appropriately enough, to Romero to end the game.
After being held to one hit, a 2-run double by Nieslanik in the first inning, by first-game starter Luke Egging until the 7th inning, Glenwood rediscovered its hitting shoes in game two. Seven different players drove in runs, and all 9 starters collected at least one hit as the Demons piled up 13 in building an 8-run lead. Ian Scruton led the way with 3 singles, Chris Sarabia and Romero, each getting 2 hits. Leadoff hitter Kiefer Brocker reached base 3 times and scored 3 runs, and Isaac Law had a key, 2-out RBI single in the 3rd, giving Glenwood a 2-0 lead.
Only Law and Sarabia, whom the coach said deserved the team MVP, are seniors, giving Nieslanik a bright view of the future: “We’re excited as we go forward. We got a lot better, our young players continuing to grow and mature. The key is to keep going – all the kids are excited about summer baseball.”