Rifle digs the longball in win over Glenwood
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Cody Chick couldn’t help but grin as he trotted toward home plate, where a huddled mass of teammates awaited.
Hitting your first-ever grand slam is a good reason to smile.
Chick’s second-inning base clearer was a sign of things to come for Rifle’s baseball team, which went on to nail down a 10-4 win over host Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.
The Bears added three more home runs – two by Michael Cash – in downing their neighboring rivals and bettering their postseason hopes.
Chick’s bomb, which turned a 1-0 Rifle lead into a 5-0 advantage, set the tone. The Bears went on to score two more runs in what finished as a six-run inning.
With the bags full, the center fielder’s goal was to put the ball in play.
“I was just trying to hit the ball and score some runs,” Chick said. “The bases were loaded and I was just trying to get some RBIs, some runs on the board.”
A hit is exactly what he got, belting an outside changeup over the right-field wall. The opposite-field approach, preached constantly by Rifle coach Troy Phillips, paid off.
“He always tells us that, if it’s on the outside, to try to take it to right field, to hit it where it’s pitched.”
Up 7-0 after two innings, Bears pitcher Chris Hesselberg had all the cushion he’d need. Hesselberg turned in 4 1/3 innings of five-hit ball. He allowed four runs – one earned – and four strikeouts in earning the victory.
Hesselberg also cleared the wall with a home run and scored three runs as part of a 1-for-2 afternoon at the plate.
Cash, who homered in at-bats in both the fourth and sixth innings, finished up with a 3-for-3 line at the plate. Both of his homers were of the solo variety, with one sailing over the left-field fence and the other clearing the center-field wall.
“That’s the hardest we’ve hit the ball,” Phillips said of his team’s four-home run afternoon. “Getting that bases-loaded home run kind of set the tone for us. It kind of took the pressure off. It became a pitching effort.”
As for the Demons, they never could piece together a big inning.
Luke Jacob hit a solo home run in the fifth and went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Glenwood. Mario Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a double and Garrett Hatch went 2-for-3 with a double.
“They made us hurt a little bit with the grand slam,” Demons coach Eric Nieslanik said. “You know, inconsistency is what got us, more so offensively tonight. We just couldn’t get anything going.”
The loss dropped Glenwood to 6-9 overall and to 3-7 in the 4A Western Slope League, while the Bears improved to 8-8 overall and to 6-6 in league.
Rifle still has a reasonable shot at finishing in the top four in league and landing a playoff spot.
“It’s completely up in the air because Moffat [County], right now, is 3-4,” Phillips said. “It’s anybody’s guess. Right now, it depends on how Moffat plays the last seven games.”
The Bears play host to Delta on Saturday in a doubleheader that’ll have huge implications in that playoff race.
Also on Saturday, Glenwood Springs is at home against Palisade.
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