Babler’s run leads to 10-0 Rifle rout
RIFLE – Baseball might be a game of inches, but Nick Babler turned it to a game of fingers.
The Rifle High baserunner maneuvered his right arm around Glenwood Springs catcher Jeremy Ureche and touched home plate, sparking Rifle’s dormant bats to life in the third inning of Monday’s league game.
Babler’s play started a five-run Bear rally. Rifle added five more in the fourth for a 10-0 mercy-rule win that was halted in the fifth inning.
“The play at the plate was definitely a turning point, Everything after that just kind of went the wrong way,” said Glenwood coach Mike Laster.
“It was a tight one,” said Rifle coach Troy Phillips. “(Babler) popped up and over and touched the base. It was important. Had he been called out that would have closed off that inning.”
Babler’s run helped keep from Rifle losing its share of first place in the Western Slope League.
Heading into Thursday’s home game with Moffat County, the 8-1 Bears are tied with Delta and a half-game up on 7-2 Moffat.
Rifle wraps up the regular season at Delta with a doubleheader against the Panthers on Saturday.
Staked to the 5-0 lead, Bear pitching ace Jason Enewold, who had limited the Demons to solo base hits over two innings, got downright stingy.
In the last three innings before the game was called, Enewold retired the Demons twice, with five of the eight strikeouts he’d have in the contest, while limiting Glenwood to one baserunner.
“I give all the credit in the world to Jason,” Laster said. “He’s a good pitcher. He’s got a pop on his fast ball and can hit his spots real well.
As the Bears were congratulating their ace, Eli Snead was thanking Babler for erasing his mistake on the bases.
Snead put himself in scoring position after reaching second on a leadoff single and Matt Jones’ sacrifice bunt. But he was picked off by an alert Glenwood defense when he roamed away from the bag after an infield error.
Following up the initial play, first baseman Andrew Blake fired the ball to Tiernan Conway, who had hustled back to cover second for the tag on Snead for the second out.
Babler made up for his teammate’s miscue when he scored the game’s first run when Owen Madison singled.
Scott Van Slyke’s two-run double broke the game open. Kip Jessup added the Bears’ fifth run in the third with an RBI single.
In the fourth, Rifle chased off Glenwood starter Justin Jerome when four of five hitters reached base.
Two Demon errors, accounted for the bulk of Rifle’s five runs they scored in the inning.
Glenwood (3-5, WSL) finishes out the WSL season this week with home games at Delta on Thursday followed by a doubleheader Saturday with Steamboat at Glenwood Springs Middle School.
“We know we have to win some ballgames to advance,” Laster said. “That’s what it’s all about. Having four tough games at the end of the season is the way to go.
“I’d rather have it that way than a cakewalk, because when you get to (next week’s) district tournament you’re going to get woken up real quick.”
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The Rifle and Glenwood Springs girls tangled on Tuesday night at Glenwood’s Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in a 4A Western Slope League contest that carried major implications in the conference standings.