Bears’ bats too hot for Demons
Post Independent Staff
Eli Snead crushed the ball every time he came to bat on Tuesday.
Then, on his final trip to the plate, he really made it count.
With Rifle ahead 6-4 in the seventh inning, Snead hammered a grand slam to left-center field to lift the Bears over the Glenwood Springs baseball team, 10-4.
“It was a fastball low and out, and I just figured I’d rip it,” Snead said. “I was hitting pretty good. I’m seeing the ball well.”
It was one of three hits on the day for Snead. After being hit by a pitch and walking in his first two at bats, Snead hit a double and a single before going deep in the seventh. The shortstop totaled six RBIs in the game.
“He’s a great hitter, and he really showed it today,” said Rifle head coach Troy Phillips of Snead. “He hit the ball really hard every time he got a chance to.”
Despite leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings, the Bears (4-2 Western Slope League, 5-6 overall) jumped out to an early advantage with the help of leadoff hitter Andrew Schmidt, who scored three of the team’s first four runs. He ended up going 3-for-4 at the plate and scoring four runs.
“I was a little worried that we had given up some early chances to score some runs with the bases loaded,” Phillips said. “I thought that was going to come back and haunt us, but luckily we got those big hits in the end to give us some distance ” but I was nervous.”
Glenwood’s good defense, led by Ryan Blake’s diving catches and long stretches at first base, kept the Demons (4-3 WSL, 6-3 overall) in the game. In the fifth inning, with the Bears up 5-1, Glenwood started to put more runs on the board. After two Bear errors put runners on first and second with two outs, Chance Stevens, Beau Chicoine and Boyd Milhorn slugged three consecutive RBI singles. Barrett Jensen was unable to keep the rally going, but Glenwood pulled within one run headed into the final inning.
“I felt we hit the ball fairly well tonight, they just made some great plays on us when they needed to and shut us down,” said Glenwood head coach Eric Nieslanik. “We never broke it open until late in the game, and by then it was too late.”
After Stevens, who started the game for the Demons, struck out Asa Fix in the top of the seventh, Steve Wilson nailed a solo shot to center field. Schmidt followed with a walk, and then Bryce Enewold was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Snead.
The 10-4 Rifle win was the opposite result of the last time the two teams faced each other on March 22 when Glenwood mercy-ruled the Bears for a 16-6 win.
“Today we were on,” Snead said. “We’ve learned a lot the past few weeks. Guys are starting to hit the ball, make plays. It’s a lot better.”
Dave King hit a single for Glenwood in the bottom of the seventh, but was doubled off after trying to steal when Ben Ziemann hit a pop fly to Wilson.
Uriel Quezada (2-1) pitched the complete-game win for Rifle, giving up seven hits, striking out four and walking three. Stevens (2-2) took the loss, allowing 12 hits, striking out six and walking five in over six innings of work.
“They came to play. The better team won here today,” Nieslanik said of Rifle. “They really hit the ball well. They had a great pitching outing, kept us off balance all day.”
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.