Bears have it easy against EV |

Bears have it easy against EV

Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson Rifle's Uriel Quezada, left, safely steals second base before Eagle Valley's Alex Dororthy can get the ball during Thursday's doubleheader. Rifle swept the doubleheader.

After being essentially knocked out of the race for the league title Tuesday, Rifle took out some frustrations Thursday against Eagle Valley.Behind stellar pitching, solid defense and smoking bats, the Bears romped past Eagle Valley with a doubleheader sweep that included a pair of mercy-rule shortened, five-inning contests, 17-1 and 14-2.”That was a tough loss on Tuesday against Delta because we knew it was for the league title,” Rifle head coach Troy Phillips said. “But this is such a great group, they didn’t let it get them down. They just worked to get better.”Part of that work comes in early-morning batting practice before the players go to school. It paid dividends against Eagle Valley.

Rifle rapped a total of 33 hits in the two games, including eight extra-base knocks, while the Devils managed nine hits in the two games.”We’ve been doing a lot of extra hitting, and it’s been helping out,” Rifle senior Brandon Leuallen said.Fans had to stay until the final inning of the twin bill to see the highlight of Rifle’s offensive fireworks.Eagle Valley’s Alex Dororthy had just entered as the Devils’ third pitcher of the game, and Leuallen probably made him wish he never left second base for the mound.Leuallen turned on Dororthy’s pitch and sent a towering shot over the left-field fence for the first grand slam of his prep career.

Leuallen finished the game with five RBIs and a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Eli Snead was 3-for-4 in the game, and Adam Krick had a 2-for-4 game with a pair of RBIs.Where Krick did the most damage was on the mound, however. The senior did a superior job of setting up his offspeed pitches with his fastball, enticing a number of batters to swing at balls in the dirt, and was perfect through three innings. “I tried not to think about it,” Krick said of going into the fourth without allowing a baserunner. “They started to get on me a little bit after seeing me a couple of times.”

The Devils touched Krick for two runs in the fourth, but it was too late, as the Bears already had built a 10-0 lead.”He has one of the hardest-breaking curveball sliders around,” Phillips said of Krick, who finished with eight strikeouts. The statistics were equally as impressive in the first half of the doubleheader. Leuallen and Uriel Quezada combined for a three-hitter from the mound, while Matt Jones and Bryce Enewold both had homers. Jones led the offense with a 3-for-4 showing and three RBIs. Quezada was also 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Tyson Thompson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs.Rifle remains in second place in the Western Slope League at 8-2 (12-3 overall). Eagle Valley drops to 3-7 (4-11). The Bears host a doubleheader against Steamboat Springs Saturday.

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