PBR Colorado Game of the Day: Chaparral Defeats Cherokee Trail 7-3

Brad Cochi
Northern Colorado Senior Writer

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Chaparral 7 Cherokee Trail 3

AURORA – At least at the plate, Nolan Ackerman hadn’t gotten off to the type of start he had envisioned for his senior campaign with the Chaparral baseball team.


The College of San Mateo-bound catcher had just three hits in his first 19 at-bats of the 2019 spring prior to Monday’s road game against Cherokee Trail. In Chaparral’s first game back from spring break, Ackerman went 3 for 5 and drove in three runs to lead the Wolverines to a 7-3 win and their first in-state victory of the spring.


That's not all. 


True to his reputation as an excellent defensive catcher, Ackerman also came up with a clutch game-ending defensive play when the Wolverines found themselves in hot water in the bottom of the seventh.


“It felt good to get a few hits in a win,” Ackerman said. “The balls still weren’t all getting through but I was beating them out at first base. I was moving runners, doing my job, so I’m happy.”


Coming off a spring break strip to Arizona during which Chaparral played five games, the Wolverines (4-3) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead after the first three innings. Senior starter Preston Tenney was excellent through four innings before struggling with his control during a two-run fifth inning.


Having scored 15 combined runs in its first two games including a come-from-behind win over Fairview on Saturday, Cherokee Trail (2-1) added a third run in the sixth. Trailing by four runs, the Cougars loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. However, Chaparral lefty Iaian Isdale struck out Colton Freels swinging in the dirt and Ackerman blocked the ball then caught Cade Simpson in a rundown between third and home for the final out of the game.  


“It was our first game coming out of spring break and I was kind of apprehensive about scheduling a game on this Monday because I would have prefered to have a practice day before,” Chaparral head coach Alan DiGiosio said. “We had our number one out there today and he competes and he gets a lot of strikeouts. But his pitch count does get up a little high because he does work a lot of long at-bats. He was pretty dominant there for about four but his challenge is to find a way to get himself into the later innings.


“We got an early lead but we knew CT would get better in this game the more pitches they saw. We had to keep playing and we stayed focused enough to win today.”


Tenney, who issued six free passes in Monday's game, struck out four batters over four scoreless innings before giving up three walks and a pair of singles in the fifth. In six innings prior to Monday’s game, Tenney posted a 2.33 ERA with eight strikeouts and just two walks.


Isdale entered Monday’s game earlier than expected because reliever Kaden Langheinrich was hit by a line drive after recording one out in the sixth. Isdale then recorded the final five outs of the game – four via strikeout – despite having to work out of a jam at the end.


“Iain came with a strong finish,” Ackerman said. “Sometimes he struggles with runners on base but today, he did a great job. That was good to see from him.”


Four errors in the field hurt Cherokee Trail and reliever Seth Timmons was the only Cougars pitcher to escape his turn unscathed. He struck out four over two scoreless innings.


Cherokee Trail will play the first of four straight road games on Wednesday when the Cougars take on Douglas County (5-1). Chaparral continues its own string of four road games against Fort Collins (4-0) on Wednesday.


Chaparral 7, Cherokee Trail 3

At Cherokee Trail H.S.


Chaparral (4-3) 233 000 0 – 7 9 1

Cherokee Trail (2-1) 000 021 0 – 3 8 4


W – Tenney. L – Hayen.


Chaparral hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – McKown 2-2-1-0, Ackerman 5-2-3-3, Matthews 2-1-1-0, Carew 2-0-1-1, Burnett 3-0-1-1, Hagan 4-0-0-0, Click 4-0-0-0, Rheem 2-2-0-0, Moore 2-1-2-0, Kiland 0-0-0-0, Isdale 0-0-0-0, Langheinrich 0-0-0-0, Tenney 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-7-9-5. SB – Ackerman, Matthews.


Cherokee Trail hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Muniz 4-0-2-2, Holland 2-0-0-0, Simpson 3-0-1-0, Rush 3-0-1-0, Baldensperger 2-0-0-0, Nelson 2-0-0-0, Angulo 4-0-3-0, Freels 4-2-1-0, Hardman 2-1-0-0, Sandoval 1-0-0-0, Cox 0-0-0-0, Mackintosh 0-0-0-0, Timmons 0-0-0-0, Hayen 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-3-8-2. SB – Freels.


Chaparral pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Tenney 5-4-2-2-6-5, Langheinrich 0.1-1-1-1-0-0, Isdale 1.2-3-0-0-1-4.


Cherokee Trail pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Hayen 2.0-5-5-2-1-2, Mackintosh 2.1-3-2-1-3-2, Timmons 2-1-0-0-1-4.