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One last hurrah

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By Brian Forbes

DENVER — While leads can disappear in a flash at Coors Field, the memories of playing there will not.

Three local prep players got one last game at the Colorado Rockies ballpark Sunday, June 8, as a part of the annual Top 50 baseball game.

The Silver team, with Dakota Ridge standouts Eric Cain and J.C. Ochoa, saw its lead evaporate in the bottom of the seventh as the Purple squad, which included Chatfield catcher Jake Davis, scored four runs to win 8-7.

"I remember coming to watch this when I was little and hoping I’d be up here, and finally I was," Cain said.

Cain and Ochoa each went 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored, while Davis was 0-for-1 with a walk. All three players started for their respective teams.

Chatfield’s Casey Coy and Columbine's Curtis Cunningham were also selected to participate, but did not play.

"It was fun," said Davis, who caught a total of four innings. "Another chance to come out and play."

Davis caught Eaton hurler Kyle Ottoson in the first inning. Ochoa batted second for the visiting Silver squad, and cracked a single to right field. Ochoa caught Arapahoe’s Ryan Wittemore in the bottom of the first and Davis struck out swinging.

Cain started at shortstop and later moved to second base where he was unfairly tagged with an error in the decisive seventh inning when he couldn’t corral a hard shot by Grand Junction’s Ross Koepsell.

Cain’s first at-bat came in the third inning as he hit a two-out single to center field off Fountain-Fort Carson’s Shayne Hulce. With Highlands Ranch’s Nate Steinmetz on second and Cain on first, Pueblo Central’s Dion DeHerrera crushed a home run to left field to put the Silver team up 3-2.

Ochoa would get his second hit in the sixth inning and would score when Erie catcher Shane Wade tripled with a shot into the right-field gap.

Cain singled in the seventh but was stranded as the Silver squad failed to build upon its 7-3 lead.

"This is an awesome experience. I’m glad they do this every year," Cain said. "Especially Coors Field. It’s fun to come out to the game and they hook us up with tickets. It’s cool because you see a lot of guys that you play against and will probably never see again."

Davis drew a walk in the fifth inning but never got to step out of the batter’s box as Boulder’s Nick Rianoshek was gunned down trying to steal third for the final out of the inning.

Ochoa and Davis got the added bonus of warming up pitchers in the picturesque bullpen in right field. Of course, running out there in full gear was an unexpected pain.

"All I know is that bullpen is far away. It’s far away," Ochoa said.

Said Davis: "I got the workout."

Davis’ Purple squad got to Calhan hurler Ben Doran in the seventh inning, cutting the deficit to 7-6 with the bases loaded. The Silver squad called on Ralston Valley ace Matt Skipper to try and stop the bleeding but Golden third baseman Tony DeCarlo smacked a two-run single that deflected off Skipper’s glove and went past Cain at second base for the walk-off glory.

Such is life on a field of dreams.

"Anything can happen," Ochoa said.