Bears’ bats beat up Longmont squad
AUSTIN BOOTH MEMORIAL WOOD BAT TOURNAMENT
All games at Cooper Field, Rifle
Fruita 9, Eagle Valley 0; Rifle 5, Hotchkiss 2; Rawhide (Northern Colorado) 11, Glenwood Springs 5; WAH (California) 3, Palmer (Colorado Springs) 0.
Fruita 5, Palmer 4; Rawhide 13, Hotchkiss 2; Eagle Valley 7, WAH 5; rifle 9, Glenwood Springs 3
Hotchkiss 5, Glenwood Springs 4; Palmer 10, Eagle Valley 6; Fruita 9, WAH 7; Rifle 12, Rawhide 2, 6 innings
WAH vs. Glenwood Springs, 9 a.m.; Palmer vs. Hotchkiss, Noon; Eagle Valley vs. Rawhide, 4 p.m.; Rifle vs. Fruita, 7 p.m.
RIFLE — The Rifle High School summer baseball team scored a combined seven runs in the second and third innings against Rawhide out of Longmont, advancing to the title game of the Austin Booth Memorial Wood Bat Tournament with a 12-2 mercy rule victory at Cooper Field on Friday night.
The victory for the Bears moved them to 3-0 in the four-game tournament. They’ll play in the tournament title game at 7 tonight against Fruita, which beat WAH (California) 9-7 earlier in the day Saturday.
Bryer Rew and Drake Montgomery each drove in a pair of runs, with Rew’s two-run , two-out single in the bottom of the fourth inning capping a four-run frame that gave the Bears a comfortable 9-0 lead. Montgomery had a banner day at the plate for Rifle, finishing 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Rifle finished with just six hits, all of them singles. Most of the hits the Bears had over the course of the game were hit along the ground or barely got out of the infield thanks in part to the wood bats they were using, which have a much smaller “sweet spot” than the aluminum or composite bats that are commonly used in high school baseball.
Thanks to that, Rifle did a good job of manufacturing runs by drawing 10 walks and scoring runs off of both of Rawhide’s errors.
Takoda Chaney earned the pitching win for Rifle. The junior-to-be lefty with a sidearm delivery pitched all six innings, finishing with 10 strikeouts with four walks while allowing seven hits.
Alex Haborman hit a double — the only extra-base hit of the game for either team — and Evan Johnson and Taylor Barons each had RBI singles for the Longmont squad, which is a summer tournament team that draws players from Fort Collins, Denver, Longmont and Greeley.
The tournament is named after Austin Booth, a former Rifle High student and baseball player who died in 2011 after a short battle with influenza. Rifle coach Troy Phillips said that Booth made such a strong impact in such a short amount of time at the school that he decided to name the team’s wood-bat tournament for him. Proceeds from the tournament help fund the Austin Booth Memorial Scholarship fund that Rifle High School distributes annually.
The Bears have a chance to win their own tournament for the second time in three years. The last time they did it was in 2013, when Rifle earned a 2-0 victory over Fruita in the event’s championship game.
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At long last, high school basketball teams return to the court this week as part of Colorado’s revamped winter sports lineup, which has been delayed since November due to the coronavirus.