Bears take down rival Titans |

Bears take down rival Titans

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentRifle junior Danny Bartels delivers a pitch during Tuesday's game against visiting Coal Ridge. Bartels and the Bears defeated their Garfield School District Re-2 rivals, 7-2.

RIFLE, Colorado – In the moments preceding the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against visiting Coal Ridge, Rifle baseball coach Troy Phillips had a message for his team.

“We’re a clutch hit away from breaking it open,” he told his squad.

The clutch hits came.

In that very inning, Mitch Ray lined a two-out single to plate fellow sophomore Teig Hauer and give Rifle a 2-0 lead.

An inning later, the Bears exploded for five runs en route to a 7-2 win over the rival Titans.

Timely hitting and a patient approach fueled Rifle’s fifth-inning rally, which featured five walks, a hit batsman and run-scoring doubles by Hauer and Wyatt Robinson.

Triston Quigley and Danny Bartels drew walks to drive in runs and a groundout to third by Dalton Bornholdt pushed across a run.

Robinson doubled home the Bears’ first run in the second inning.

“Our sophomores surprised us,” Bartels, a junior, said in reference to the heroics of Robinson and Hauer. “They stepped up huge.”

Bartels came through for Rifle on the mound, pitching into the sixth inning. He struck out 10 and surrendered just two hits before exiting after facing two batters in the sixth.

Hunter Finger finished out the game on the hill.

“Danny pitched an incredible game today,” Phillips said. “He threw strikes early in the count and was able to get the ball in play early.”

Bartels, who pitched in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Aspen, stuck primarily to his fastball.

“Me and my coach saw they weren’t keeping up with it, so I was just trying to hit my spots,” he said. “We varied with some curveballs there, too, in some counts.”

Coal Ridge’s bats came alive in the seventh inning.

Ryan Blackard led off with a double down the third-base line, followed by a RBI double by Hunter Hasenberg to make it 7-1.

Jerome Pizzelli then dropped a bunt down in front of home plate that led to a throwing error and a second run.

Finger retired the next three batters in order to close out the Bears’ third win in three 2012 outings.

Tuesday’s game opened the season for the Titans.

“Basically, we’ve got to swing the sticks,” said Coal Ridge first-year coach Danny Petrie, who took over the program after a long coaching stint at Chino Valley High School in Arizona. “We’ve got to get going and have a different mentality, to be aggressive with the bats. That’s something we’re developing.”

Next up for Coal Ridge is a trip to Cedaredge for a Saturday doubleheader. Rifle hosts Olathe for a twin bill the same day.

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