Manitou Springs swept St. Mary’s three times last season on its way to reaching the Class 3A state baseball finals.
So the Pirates were looking for a bit of revenge on Wednesday.
Starting pitcher Jacob Brummel overcame a rocky first inning to hold the Mustangs to three runs and Michael Ott drove in three as the Pirates defeated Manitou Springs 5-3 at the Grace Center.
“This was a huge win,” Brummel said. “Especially on Senior Night and it being our biggest rival, this was a big one.”
Brummel struck out 11 in 6 1/3 innings and scattered five hits. He gave up two runs and three hits in the first inning as he faced seven batters.
After that, he held Pikes Peak region 3A and below No. 2 Manitou to two hits and one unearned run.
“After the motivation and the speeches our coaches have been giving us day after day, even to compete when we are down, … just that mindset helped me bounce back,” Brummel said. “I knew I wanted to win this one big time.”
Ott led the Pirates’ offense with two of their seven hits. He drove in two runs with a bloop, two-out double in the fourth and another with a single to left.
His double gave the No. 3 Pirates (12-6) a 3-2 lead and his single in the sixth scored the insurance run that put St. Mary’s up 5-3.
“I was just trying to put the ball in play and do whatever I could to manufacture runs for my team and get things going,” Ott said.
With district tournaments just over a week away, the Pirates’ sixth consecutive victory, not to mention it coming against their biggest rival, adds even more confidence to a team that is rolling.
“It’s important that you’re playing your good baseball now, and we are,” St. Mary’s coach Bill Percy said. “This is six (wins) in a row. We’ve gotten great pitching now for the last three weeks.”
With several four-year starters no longer part of the Mustangs (12-5) due to unspecified reasons, Manitou’s squad had a different look than when the season started, Manitou Springs coach Cory Archuleta allowed.
“The kids that have returned from our run last year, they understand that every game means something now,” Archuleta said. “… I think our mindset is, we’re playing with what we’ve got here and what’s left in this program. We’re going to roll with it and try to gel together as a team.”
Manitou starter Sean Whalen gave up four runs – two earned – in five innings, allowing five hits and two walks, while striking out six.
Seth Nolan drove in the Mustangs’ first two runs before St. Mary’s would rally.
“We’re pretty young for what we started today and what we will start for the rest of the season,” Archuleta said. “We’ve got some kids that are just trying to get their feet wet and getting some varsity experience. I think today was a good thing for them just seeing the speed of the game.”