Sliding into home

South Park High School senior TJ Peter slides into home plate during the first game of the season, a doubleheader, March 15. The Burros overturned the Pirates 3-0. (Photo by Allison Wishowski)

The South Park High School Burros baseball team launched their 2019 season with a 3-0 first-game win over the Cotopaxi Pirates in an away non-conference doubleheader March 15.

Since the first official practice allowed by the Colorado High School Activities Association Feb. 25, the Burros have been limited on outdoor practice time due to a combination of a lack of open-air training facilities and the harsh weather conditions.

Yet, the Burros did not allow the circumstances to hinder their season-opening performance as they held the hosting opponents to only two hits in six innings with 18 putouts, while tallying three runs and a runner batted in in six total hits.

Leading from the mound, pitcher TJ Peter controlled the plate by striking out 12 of the 21 batters he faced. Although the senior allowed three stolen bases and three walks, his fielding efforts pushed for two putouts in five total chances with three assists and a double play.

A disciplined presence in the playing field saw senior Daigen Springer rushing in with 13 putouts in 14 total chances with one assist, while senior Collin Moore managed three out of three putouts with a double play, and sophomore Michael Wishowski added to the Burros assists with one of his own.

Having gone into a 0-0 stalemate at the bottom of the fifth, the Burros finally got on the scoreboard against the Pirates to see Springer recorded the team’s only RBI, while geting two hits in three plate appearances. At last, the Burros added to the score with Moore, Peter (two hits in three at-bats), and Wishowski each scoring a run in the sixth inning to end the game.

In addition, contributions to the Burros’ efforts saw junior Aron Susic obtaining a hit in three at-bats, along with senior Brandon Hutcheson in two plate appearances.

The Burros handed the Pirates their first loss of the season, where they now hold a current 2-1 record after defeating the Evangelical Christian Eagles 10-0 in an away non-conference game Mar. 9.

The celebration of the Burros’ first victory was short-lived as the team suffered a 15-3 loss to the Pirates in the second game of the doubleheader.

The Burros were able to manage six hits and three runs in the five-inning stretch. Leading the way, Wishowski connected with two, while scoring one run in three at-bats, while Moore marked two hits and Peter registered a double. Burro sophomore Bobby Wallace racked up two runs, and junior Matthew Ryszkowski also had a hit.

From the opposite side of the ball, South Park pitchers Moore and Wishowski upheld their end to finish the game. Starting on the hill, Moore faced 13 batters in three innings and finished with four hits and four earned runs against him, but was able to strike out six batters in the process.

Finishing up in one inning, Wishowski saw a seven-hit and seven-earned-run count against him, but came back to strikeout three of the 11 batters faced.

A scored run in the first inning looked to be hopeful for the Burros, but the Pirates found their niche at the plate and ran with a nine-run lead and then increased by another four runs in the second.

Trailing 13-1 at the top of the third was not about to keep the Burros at bay for long, as they added to the boards with another two runs scored. The Burros held the Pirates to an additional single run.

Their fielding landed the Burro team in good position with 12 putouts and four assists, but a patch of four errors did not help matters.

In the forefront, Springer led his team with seven putouts and an assist, while Moore and Wishowski each totted up two putouts. Peter was able to finish the game with one putout and two assists, and junior Piper Davis jumped in line with an assist of her own.

Even though South Park kept the ball rolling with each advancement, seeing a game total of six stolen bases (Moore led with three and Wishowski, Peter, and Springer each thieved up one each), they were still cut short with zero runs in the fourth inning, and the Pirates added another run to end the game.

Next up

Having gotten the first-game jitters shaken away, the Burros will attempt to advance on their 1-1 overall record when facing the Cripple Creek-Victor Pioneers in a non-conference doubleheader March 23.

The Pioneers have yet to be challenged and will open their season when facing Pikes Peak Christian two days prior to meeting the Burros.

From one season to the next

Despite losing Austin Shifflett to graduation and four additional players from last year’s roster, the Burros look to be standing on solid ground under second-year head coach Bill Wishowski. A tough lineup of four returning seniors (Collin Moore, TJ Peter, Joey Anderson and Daigen Springer), one returning junior (Aron Susic), and four returning sophomores (Hector Almeida, Bobby Wallace, Michael Wishowski and Adam Susic) is just the beginning of a four-player increase from the 2018 season.

The team has expanded due to a variety of newcomers that includes senior Brandon Hutcheson, four juniors (Piper Davis, John O’Donnell, John Saucedo and Matthew Ryszkowski), three sophomores (Gabe Mitchell, Devin Doty and Braden Keogh), and freshman Lucas Caniglia.

The mixture of veteran players, rookie players and everything in between gives the impression of a confident season; but time will tell, as the 2019 South Park baseball team gears up for what lies ahead as the Burros begin conference play with the Sargent Farmers April 6, followed by the Center Vikings April 13.

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