MONUMENT - Normally, a hitter like Nick Weber would bat leadoff. His bat and speed are perfect for opening an inning and a game.
But Air Academy has the luxury of batting Weber last. That way he can get things started off just before the top of the order rolls around again.
Weber did just that on a windy Tuesday, helping Pikes Peak region 4A No. 3 Air Academy defeat Palmer Ridge 10-4 at Palmer Ridge.
Weber went 2 for 4 with three runs batted in and two runs scored. His two-run triple in the fourth keyed a five-run inning that saw the Kadets pull away for good.
"I like being in the lineup no matter where I'm at," Weber said. "As long as I can contribute and do my job, that's all that matters."
In his first at-bat, Weber had an RBI groundout to second. In his next at-bat, with runners at first and second, he tripled to right field.
"We put him in the bottom of the order on purpose, as our wraparound," Kadets coach Doug Goldberg said. "He's one of our fastest guys, handles the bat very well."
Sam Cregan belted a two-run homer to left-center in the fourth for Air Academy (9-3, 5-2 5A/4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference), and pitchers Micah Bregard and Nick Chiacchia held the Palmer Ridge bats in check.
Bregard walked six batters and gave up three hits, but held the Bears to one run over four innings. Chiacchia yielded three runs - two earned - while giving up four hits and three walks over the final three.
The Bears (7-4-1, 4-3) scored a run in the bottom of the seventh and had two on with one out. But Ben Kleinsmith was caught trying to advance on a wild pitch and Beau Stamper was picked off at first by Chiacchia to end the game.
Bregard also picked off a batter in the third inning.
"Those are two guys with very good moves," Goldberg said. "They work a lot on that in practice, so it's part of their repertoire."
The Bears loaded the bases in the first, fourth and fifth innings. They produced a total of three runs from it.
"We were waiting for that big hit all game," first-year Bears coach Greg Moviel said. "Three innings we had bases jacked with less than two outs. Someone's got to step up and deliver that big hit."
The two teams play again Thursday at Air Academy.