Aspen sweeps doubleheader with Grand Valley
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
After a season-opening loss to Rifle last weekend, Aspen baseball coach Nate Grinzinger told players that winning two against Grand Valley on Saturday in Grand Junction was a must.
They were listening. The bats came to life in a 14-11, game one win, then the Skiers held off a late Cardinals surge in game two to pull out a 7-6 victory and secure the sweep.
Aspen wasted little time pulling ahead on this day. They opened game one with a three-run first. Christian De La Cruz hit a two-run single, then scored on a passed ball. The advantage ballooned to five in the second, when Taylor Mayer hit a RBI single and later scored.
Grand Valley capitalized on a slew of walks to square the game in the bottom of the second, then went ahead, 7-6, with two runs in the fourth.
Mayer helped the Skiers square the game in the fifth, when he singled, advanced on a bunt and scored after successive wild pitches.
In the sixth, Aspen pulled ahead for good. Quinn Morehead tripled to drive in two runs, Daniel Munger and Mike Willsky scored on bases-loaded walks and De La Cruz scored on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, highlighting a seven-run inning that gave the Skiers a 14-7 edge.
“Quinn sparked that. He hit that ball 380 feet to the deepest part of the park,” Grinzinger said. “We really took off after that.”
The Cardinals tried to regroup in the seventh, but could pull no closer than three. Lamont Gross and Mayer each had two hits and scored three runs for Aspen.
Game two started out much the same, as the Skiers pushed across four runs in the first. Mayer hit a two-run triple, then De La Cruz and Willsky hit RBI singles.
Grand Valley answered with two in the bottom of the frame, touching up Aspen starter Daniel Munger for three hits and two runs.
Munger settled down after that. He retired the side in order on just nine pitches in a second inning in which he made all three put-outs. In the fourth, he faced just four batters and threw just 13 pitches. He struck out five and surrendered five hits in five innings of work.
Gross provided some much-needed insurance. He singled home Morehead in the second, then hit an inside-the-park home run in the fourth, stretching the lead to 6-2.
Gross was 3-for-3 in the game. Morehead also had three hits, scored two runs and stole two bases.
The biggest hit of the game likely came from Jake Nugent who, on the 10th pitch of an at-bat in the seventh inning, singled to drive in De La Cruz. The effort proved to be the game winner, as another Grand Valley comeback bid fell one run short.
“Jake gets the win in game one, the save in game two and also has the big hit,” Grinzinger said. “That’s a good day.”
The Skiers host a doubleheader with Coal Ridge on Saturday in El Jebel. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m.
Roaring Fork’s trip to Hotchkiss on Saturday was less than memorable.
The Bulldogs bats wreaked havoc, resulting in mercy-rule shortened wins of 13-3 and 11-1.
Jaime Rodriguez led the way in the opener with three hits and five RBI. Hotchkiss (3-0) scored five runs in both the fifth and sixth innings and three in the third. Seven different Bulldogs had two or more hits.
Rodriguez dominated on the mound in the second game, surrendering just two hits and one run while striking out six in four innings of work.
He got plenty of insurance in the fifth, when Hotchkiss erupted for eight runs to erase a 1-0 deficit. It tacked on three more in the sixth.
Ryan Spor led the way with two hits – including a home run – and three RBI.
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The Forest Service plans to replace the Carbondale Aspen-Sopris ranger district station with a newer, larger facility.