Bears struggle offensively, fall to Bulldogs |

Bears struggle offensively, fall to Bulldogs

Taking on the Hotchkiss Bulldogs on Wednesday afternoon in Hotchkiss, the Rifle Bears’ baseball team struggled offensively, striking out 11 times in a 7-1 loss, dropping the Bears to 0-3 on the young season.

Against Hotchkiss, junior Eddie Medina, senior Connor Gould and senior Luke Ellis took the mound for the Bears, but Ellis was the lone pitcher to have some success against the Bulldogs, holding Hotchkiss to just one hit while striking out three in the final two innings of the game.

At the plate, Rifle squeezed out a run in the top of the first inning as Ellis and Medina walked, before Ellis then attempted to steal third base. A bad throw from the Hotchkiss catcher got past the third baseman, allowing Ellis to trot home for Rifle’s lone run of the game.

Aside from the first-inning run, Rifle had a number of chances to push runs across the plate against the Bulldogs, but strikeouts did in the Bears on the day, as runners were stranded at second in the second and third innings due to strikeouts.

At that point, Hotchkiss standout pitcher Jonathan Hernandez, who has a 1.79 ERA for his high school career, came into the game for the Bulldogs, shutting down the Bears the rest of the way.

In the fifth, Rifle loaded the bases with three straight singles, sending junior Randy Starks to the plate.

The junior catcher ripped a drive into the left centerfield gap, but the Hotchkiss centerfielder made a terrific running catch in the alley, wiping away three likely runs for the Bears.

Ellis finished with a walk, stolen base, single and one run scored, while Medina tripled and walked for the Bears. Sophomore Derek Wagler walked, singled and stole a base.

Sitting at 0-3 on the season, Rifle will travel to Battle Mountain on Saturday afternoon for a double-header at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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