Baseball Demons slide past Bears
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Their caps flipped inside out and turned backward, Rifle’s bench did everything it could to rally its team to a comeback win.
But the rallying cry was silenced when, with the bases loaded and two outs, Michael Cash’s sharp grounder rolled into the glove of Glenwood Springs shortstop Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez trotted a few feet to his left, stepped on second base and ended the final inning of Tuesday’s rivalry game between the Bears and Demons the way many a previous frame ended for Rifle ” with runners on base.
The Bears stranded 13 baserunners ” twice leaving the bags full ” as the Demons held on for a 9-5 baseball win on a warm afternoon in Glenwood.
“I think the difference in the game was that they left a few more guys on base than we did,” said Glenwood Springs coach Eric Nieslanik, whose Demons drove in eight of their nine runs with two outs on the board.
Five of those RBIs came in a big second inning.
After Rifle starter Michael Cash retired two of the first three batters he faced, the Demons started stringing hits together. Four singles and a three-run home run off the bat of sophomore Luke Jacob turned the game in Glenwood’s favor.
Jacob’s blast, which followed RBI singles by Garrett Hatch and Patrick Hailey, put the Demons on top for the first time.
“He threw me a high-and-in fastball ” he left it up ” and I connected with it,” said Jacob, whose second homer of the season gave Glenwood a 6-3 lead.
The Demons went on to add runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to put the game away and improve to 5-3 overall and to 3-2 in the 4A Western Slope League.
But the win didn’t come easily.
Rifle came out swinging in the first inning, scoring a run on two hits, a walk and a Glenwood error. Cleanup hitter Chris Hesselberg brought one of those runs home with a groundball single to left field.
The Demons countered with a run in the bottom of the first before Cash belted an RBI double deep into center field to give the Bears a 3-1 lead after an inning and a half.
But, for the most part, the clutch hits stopped coming for Rifle, which dropped to 5-5 overall and to 2-3 in the 4A WSL.
“We didn’t get a whole lot (of clutch hits),” Bears coach Troy Phillips said. “All year guys have been missing underneath the ball. We had some pop-ups and fly balls that hurt us. We need to get guys swinging on top of the ball.”
Cash did drive in his second run of the game with a opposite-field single in the fourth inning, a frame that saw Rifle round out its run total with a two spot.
Cash finished the day 2-for-4. Teammate Dwight Cerise was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Matt Barrett went 3-for-4.
Mario Gonzalez drove in two runs and went 3-for-3 with the bat for Glenwood, while Cole Ullom chipped in with a two-hit, two-RBI afternoon.
The Demons sent three pitchers to the hill in their first outing since a March 21 doubleheader with Steamboat. Starter Patrick Hailey and Jacob, Glenwood’s No. 1 and No. 2 starters, each went two innings and Matt Snyder held Rifle scoreless over the final three innings.
“(Matt) really pitched well,” Jacob said. “That was big because me and Patty were a little rusty.”
Next on the slate for Glenwood is a Thursday trip to Craig for a doubleheader with Moffat County. There’s a chance the game could be moved to Glenwood if the field up there isn’t in good enough shape.
Rifle is scheduled to take on Steamboat in a Saturday doubleheader. Those games will either be held in Craig or in Rifle.
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