Rifle edges Glenwood in thriller
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE, Colorado – Rifle baseball coach Troy Phillips likes managing close games.
His decisions mean more. And, perhaps more importantly, so do those of his players.
“They begin to understand the little things we teach them in practice,” said the longtime coach of the Bears.
Phillips’ team got a close one to learn from on Tuesday, as visiting Glenwood Springs took Rifle to the wire.
A fifth-inning RBI single by Ricardo Quezada proved to be the difference in a 5-4 win for Rifle.
Quezada’s base knock gave the Bears a 5-1 lead at the time. The insurance run came into play the next half inning, with the Demons rallying for three runs to tighten the margin.
Tuesday’s game was a pitchers’ duel in every way, with both Glenwood starter Luke Jacob and Rifle starter Chris Hesselberg going the distance on the mound.
Jacob allowed just three hits in six innings, but six errors behind him didn’t help his final line any. Three of the five runs he allowed were earned.
Hesselberg surrendered four hits in seven innings.
“Their kid threw a good game and Luke matched him,” Glenwood coach Eric Nieslanik said. “Once again, mistakes kind of got us.”
Jacob also belted a pair of doubles for the Demons.
Elsewhere at the plate for Glenwood, Mario Gonzalez had a first-inning double and Cody Derby singled home a run in the Demons’ big sixth inning.
Rifle, which manufactured most of its runs off walks and errors, put a pair of runs on the board in the first inning, adding a run apiece in the third, fourth and fifth.
The Demons scratched out their first run in the fifth.
It came as a surprise to either coach that, despite Glenwood’s early deficit, Tuesday’s game ended up being a nail-biter.
“We’ve had a lot of close ones with them over the last few years,” Phillips said. “It’s kind of interesting every time we play them. It’s exciting.”
Next up for Glenwood Springs (3-6 overall, 1-4 in the 4A Western Slope League) is a Saturday trip to Battle Mountain, where the Demons have a twin bill scheduled with the Huskies.
Rifle (6-5, 4-3) will travel to Craig to face Steamboat Springs in a doubleheader the same day.
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