Baseball Rams outslug Glenwood
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Four home runs, 23 hits, 24 runs, seemingly countless comebacks and a whole lot of Nieslaniks flavored an eventful baseball meeting between Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork high schools on Tuesday.
After three hours of battling through a wind-chilled, marathon affair, the Rams held on for an eight-inning, 13-11 win over their Roaring Fork School District Re-1 mates at the Glenwood Springs Middle School baseball diamond.
With Eric Nieslanik coaching the Demons, Tim Nieslanik coaching Roaring Fork and Shea and Johnny Nieslanik suiting up as players for the Rams, the game had a family feel on top of the on-the-field drama.
Eric and Tim are cousins. Shea is Tim’s son and Johnny is cousins with Eric and Tim.
“We kind of had a family feud going on,” joked Roaring Fork catcher Jake Strack-Loertscher.
The game was certainly a battle.
Glenwood took a short-lived 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with an opposite-field, solo home run off the bat of Mario Gonzalez.
It was Gonzalez’s third home run in four games. The big-hitting right-hander belted a pair at the past weekend’s Hotchkiss Tournament.
“He’s really hitting the ball well,” Eric Nieslanik said. “He’s really seeing the ball.”
The Rams came back to tie it in the second, manufacturing a run off two errors in the top of the frame.
Roaring Fork posted a two-spot in the third, getting back-to-back doubles from Johnny Nieslanik and Trenton Reeds. Reeds belted a ball over the center fielder’s head to bring in Nieslanik and later scored when Shea Nieslanik reached on an error.
Glenwood didn’t stay down long, getting a run back on a Luke Jacob homer in the bottom of the third.
The Demons went ahead on a two-run, opposite field bomb from Kevin Flohr in the fourth inning that cleared the right-field fence and put the Demons on top, 4-3.
Roaring Fork tied it with a run in the top of the fifth, only to see Glenwood retake the lead on a two-run single off the bat of Collin Thornton in the bottom of the inning.
Down 6-4, the Rams rallied for three runs on two hits in the top of the sixth. Reeds drove in a pair with a line single and Shea Nieslanik drove in Reeds by sending a triple into the right-center field gap.
Roaring Fork relief pitcher Johnny Nieslanik held Glenwood to a rare scoreless stanza in the bottom of the sixth before the Rams put three more runs on the board in the seventh.
Strack-Loertscher picked up all three RBIs on a tape-measure home run that sailed well past the right-center field wall and put the Rams ahead by a 10-6 score.
The Demons scrapped their way back, though. Scratching out four seventh-inning runs on three hits, a walk, a hit batter and shrewd baserunning, Glenwood forced extra innings.
Thornton, Flohr and Austin Page rapped RBI singles and Flohr scored when Page got caught in a rundown between first and second base. As the right side of Roaring Fork’s infield played pickle with Page, Flohr waited for the right moment and broke for home, touching the plate as Page was being tagged to record the second out of the inning.
In the eighth inning, Roaring Fork plated three runs on three hits, getting RBI singles from Alex Rascon, Strack-Loertscher and Johnny Nieslanik to build a 13-10 lead.
“We’ve got a good team here,” Strack-Loertscher said. “What really made me happy is that we just didn’t lie down. If they got four runs on us, we’d come right back and put four more up. The determination on this team is really good.”
The Rams kicked off the bottom of the eighth on a promising note. After Taylor Parsons singled to start the frame, a strikeout from pitcher Johnny Nieslanik and a diving snag of a line drive by shortstop Frank Adgate put two quick outs on the board.
But Glenwood would make Roaring Fork sweat.
Gonzalez followed by sending a sharp grounder up the middle to plate a run and pull the Demons within two.
Despite being within a strike of defeat in three straight at-bats – Gonzalez’s included – the Demons went on to load the bases. They couldn’t stave off defeat in the fourth at-bat, though, as Johnny Nieslanik managed to strike out Flohr looking to end the game.
“The kids fought hard,” Eric Nieslanik said. “They played really well. We’re a team that can score some runs. We’ve got to learn to play better defense. Our pitching is not too deep. We’re going to be chasing some runs. That’s who we are.”
Thornton led the Demons with a 3-for-4, three-RBI day at the plate. Gonzalez, Page and Flohr chipped in with two hits apiece as Glenwood dropped to 2-2 on the young season.
Strack-Loertscher’s 3-for-5, four-RBI outing paced Roaring Fork. Reeds and Johnny Nieslanik contributed two hits apiece for the Rams, who were seeing their first action of 2010.
“This was our first game, so we knew we were going to make mistakes,” Tim Nieslanik said. “We made a lot of ’em, but we battled. We hung in there and we got it.”
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