Cimarron-Memorial’s baseball team has plenty of players with two and three years of varsity experience.
But it was a freshman who keyed the Spartans on Thursday.
Second baseman Niko Decolati was 3-for-3 with a walk and scored three runs to guide Cimarron to a 4-1 home victory over Spring Valley.
“He’s earned the right to be here,” Cimarron coach Mike Hubel said. “Like I tell these kids every day, I don’t care what grade you’re in, I don’t care how big or small you are, if you can play, you can play. (Decolati) has proved that he can play at this level, and he’s been doing a great job for us. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Cimarron (5-1) scored in three innings, and all three times it was Decolati who started the rally as the Spartans handed the Grizzlies (4-1-1) their first loss.
He lined a single to right with one out in the first and scored on a two-out single by Jayson Hicks.
Decolati lined a single to right to lead off the bottom of the third, and came home on a single by Tanner McAninch.
In the fifth, Decolati singled up the middle to lead off and scored on a bad-hop single by Drew Danzeisen.
“Right now we’re just doing the small things, and that’s what we’ve been working on,” Hubel said. “We don’t have the big guns like we’ve had in the past, and we’ve got a lot of young kids in there, and they’re doing a great job. They just have to continue to work hard and get better and get better as a team.”
Starter Matt Mosca allowed an unearned run on two hits in five innings to get the win. He struck out three and walked two. Mosca settled in after throwing 40 pitches in the first two innings. It took him only 31 pitches to get through the next three.
“He’s going to be one of our best pitchers,” Hubel said. “He throws strikes, he throws the ball where you want him to, and he’s tough to hit because he can throw three good pitches for strikes. His big thing is he just needs to relax a little bit.”
Josh Nuernberg threw two hitless innings with two strikeouts to get a save.