Neil Devlin From the Colorado Dugout: University is first to get to Graham Osman and Defeats Colorado Academy 5-3 in 3A Quarterfinals

Neil Devlin
Senior Writer

GREELEY -- He had an earned-run average of 0.00 in 10 outings, so Friday was something new for Graham Osman.

The emerging left-hander added a couple of other season firsts in the opening game of the Class 3A Championship Series at Butch Butler Field, but he considers it a learning experience in his development process that was bound to happen.

Colorado Academy’s Osman, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, suffered his first loss, didn’t have his usual command and location, surrendered his first earned runs and found himself battling into the sixth inning against University before giving way to the mandatory pitch count (110). He ended the game playing first base for the last out in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Bulldogs handled the Mustangs 5-3.

“I was having trouble locating my fastball and my curveball wasn’t working very well,” Osman said. “But I thought I did a good job with my slider.”

With his fastball topping out at 87 mph, Osman also didn’t get a few close calls for strikes early in the game, but refused to whine.

“I just have to work through that,” he said.

Entering the matchup in the double-elimination format, Osman,  bound for Arizona State and an amateur-draft prospect gaining attention, had video-game numbers – an 8-0 record, no earned runs, had allowed only one run, gave up only 15 walks in 51 innings and registered a ridiculous 123 strikeouts. However, against University, which improved to 24-1,Osman was touched for five runs, three earned, allowed six hits, walked four and struck out eight.

He gave up a leadoff triple and trailed the Bulldogs just a couple of batters into the game.

“It’s the kind of adversity you need to face,” Mustangs coach J.T. Putt said, pointing to his team’s three errors, Osman not having command, missing a couple of plays that could have been made and facing their best opponent of 2019.

“I thought he didn’t have his good stuff and he labored a little early,” Putt added. “He has maybe trying to be too fine.”

Now 19-4, CA got back in it with a three-run fifth, but missed its chance in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out. Instead of a fly ball to right field resulting in a sacrifice fly, a tie game at 4-4 and the go-ahead runner on third base, it turned into a 9-2 double play.

“University is a good team, well-coached,” Putt said. “It’s one of those things. Getting the opportunity to face that lineup and going against that team is a valuable thing and facing that adversity is something we can grow from if we frame it the right way. It’s all about, How resilient can you be?”

Osman concurred.

“It was definitely a weird feeling,” he said of his first earned run and loss. “I feel like it was a good experience for me. It made my defense work harder, which they probably weren’t expecting. It kind of happens.

“I’ll work harder and learn from it.”