Bears eke out extra-inning win over Rams
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
RIFLE, Colorado – Close games don’t rattle Rifle’s baseball team, and they shouldn’t. After all, the Bears have had plenty of experience playing them in 2012.
With a 3-2 win over visiting Roaring Fork on Tuesday, Rifle gutted out its fourth one-run victory of the season.
“Experience definitely helps,” said sophomore catcher Wyatt Robinson, whose ninth-inning sacrifice fly won the game for the Bears.
Fellow sophomore Bailey Hoffmeister, who pulled back from a bunt stance and ripped a grounder down the third-base line for a double to start the inning, scored on Robinson’s fly to right field.
“I knew I needed to get on base,” said Hoffmeister, who was following the orders of the coaching staff in executing what the Bears term a “slash” play. “I’ve been hitting well doing that, faking the bunt and then, you know, I trusted my teammates. I knew they could get it done. I just needed to get on base.”
Angel Diaz followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt that ended with his safe arrival at first base on a fielder’s choice. That pushed Hoffmeister to third for Robinson’s at-bat.
Robinson’s medium-depth fly gave Hoffmeister plenty of time to reach the plate ahead of the throw.
The extra-inning win pushed Rifle’s record to 8-1 overall and to 7-1 in the 3A Western Slope League. The Bears and Cedaredge are the only two teams in the circuit with just one league loss.
Rifle scored a run in the first inning and another in the third to take an early 2-0 lead.
Triston Quigley scored on a double steal after reaching on an infield single earlier in the first inning.
In the third, Quigley scored on a line single by teammate Danny Bartels. Bartels’ hit bounced in front of and then skipped past the left fielder, sending Bartels to second while plating Quigley, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Roaring Fork took advantage of three Rifle errors to push across two runs in the fourth inning.
Clay Gross led off the frame with a double deep to left field. He scored moments later on an errant throw on a pickoff attempt.
Two batters later, and with two outs, Shea Nieslanik lined a single to center. Tanner Gianinetti followed with an infield single. Nieslanik would eventually score on an error.
From there, it was all pitching.
Bartels hurled a gem for the Bears. Left-hander Thomas Cerise did the same for the Rams.
Both pitched the distance, with Bartels surrendering just four hits and striking out nine and Cerise allowing seven hits and racking up three strikeouts.
“Both pitchers threw well,” Roaring Fork coach Marty Madsen said. “There was some great pitching. That’s the best game Thomas has thrown all year.”
“Danny’s done a great job on the mound for us,” Rifle coach Troy Phillips said. “He has confidence in all his pitches and he can throw them all for strikes, and to the spots we ask. Because of that, he’s had a lot of success.”
Quigley, Bartels, Hoffmeister, Robinson, Diaz, Jacob Withee and Nate Schilt all had a hit apiece for the Bears.
Gross had a pair of hits to pace the Rams, now 4-5, both overall and in league play.
Nieslanik and Gianinetti each finished with a hit.
Up next for Rifle is a Saturday doubleheader at Grand Valley. The first pitch is slated to be thrown at 11 a.m.
Roaring Fork will host Basalt for two the same day and also at 11 a.m.
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