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Arapahoe and Heritage renewed their long rivalry on the baseball diamond March 23 in a game that lived up to expectations. The excellent pitching on both sides made runs hard to come by, but the game ended in dramatic fashion as Heritage won in the home half of the seventh inning 4-2 on Mason Mitchell's two-run, walk-off homer.
Heritage took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and Arapahoe tied the score in the top of the third inning. The Eagles made the score 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning and Arapahoe tied it up with a run in the top of the sixth inning. It was looking like the game was going to go into extra innings when with one out, one on in the bottom of the seventh, Mitchell hit a towering drive over the left center field fence for the two-run homer and the Eagles' 4-2 win.
“I saw the pitch coming in low and inside,” Mitchell said after he and teammates celebrated the win. “I swung and that is the hardest I have hit a baseball in a while. I watched it clear the fence and it felt really amazing to hit that homer in a rivalry game like this.”
In “gratitude” for his home run, Mitchell's teammates gave him a Gatorade shower.
Arapahoe had 10 hits. Preston Scheidt and Brandon Dryer had two hits each. Tyler Pratt and Ryan Nouse each drove in a run for the Warriors.
The Eagles had eight hits. Mitchell and Connor Cumminsky each had two hits for Heritage. Mitchell also drove in two runs
The mound performances were solid for both teams.
Riley Egloff went the distance for the Eagles. He gave up eight hits and one earned run but didn't issue a walk and struck out six.
Drew Hayes was the starting pitcher for the Warriors. He pitched five innings, gave up six hits, no earned runs, walked two and struck out five. Tyler Banks came on in relief. He pitched one inning, gave up two hits, one earned run, issued two walks and struck out two.
Before the game, both coaches said pitching would be strength for their teams this season.
“We have a solid group of senior leaders who will work hard to move guys on the bases and manufacture runs,” Arapahoe Coach James Dolloghan said before the game. “This is my second year as coach and this is the best pitching we have had in a while. We have three talented pitchers, our kids work hard and play very good defense, so we expect to have a good season.”
Eagles Coach Tyler Munro's comments about his team were similar.
“We are pitching heavy with seven or eight players who can do good jobs on the mound this season. At least early in the season, pitching and defense will be our team strengths, and that wins games,” he said before the game. “At the same time, we are working on our hitting and we will see how that develops.”
This is Munro's first year at Heritage. He said it helps that he and the former head coach who is still at Heritage are longtime friends, and that is a big plus for him and for his players.
“We are off to a good start,” he said. “It is a better start that has gone smoothly as we are working to be a strong, competitive team this season.”
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