Bond doesn’t break in Bears’ big win |

Bond doesn’t break in Bears’ big win

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE ” In a rare game under the lights at Rifle’s Deerfield Park, the home Bears picked an opportune moment to light it up offensively.

On Tuesday, Rifle used a 10-run fifth inning to purge a 1-0 deficit, run away with a 10-1 win over I-70 rival Glenwood Springs and, above all, grab the upper hand in the Class 4A Western Slope League playoff race.

Kory Kassak drilled a two-run, bases-loaded single to push the Bears ahead 3-1 jumpstart the fifth-inning outburst. An at-bat earlier, Ernesto Mendoza tied the game by striking a misplayed grounder.

After stranding three runners in scoring position through four innings, Rifle’s rally proved cathartic.

“We really needed that,” Kassak said. “We go down 1-0 in five innings and then come up with that. It was kind of dramatic.”

Kyle Bond added an RBI single, Steve Samson a two-run double and Alex Haynes a two-run base hit to highlight the explosive frame.

The Bears had struggled with Glenwood starter Beau Chicoine and his wicked curveball early on. Through four, Chicoine matched Rifle starter Kyle Bond pitch for pitch in a riveting pitchers’ duel.

The opposing duo linked up to allow a combined six hits through the first four innings. Kassak admitted Chicoine’s hook gave the Bears fits, but patience paid off.

“We were a little confused with his curveball,” he said. “We were never really reading the ball out of his hand. Once we saw him throw a couple times, we saw how the ball was rotating.”

Chicoine certainly impressed Rifle coach Troy Phillips.

“Beau’s a heck of a pitcher,” he lauded. “He’s shut down quite a few teams this year. We finally hit his curveball and it’s one of the best curveballs around. Maybe he got tired. He’s been pitching a lot of innings.”

But the day belonged to Bond, who spun a complete-game gem. The right-hander struck out seven ” including the side in the fourth ” against just two hits and three walks.

An RBI double by Chad Sommers in the third inning gave the Demons an early 1-0 lead. The only other Glenwood hit of the day ” a single ” belonged to Barrett Jensen.

Zach Whitmore had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a triple. Asa Fix had a table-setting double in the big fourth inning.

Glenwood Springs coach Eric Nieslanik knows its do-or-die for his team heading into a season-ending Saturday doubleheader with Delta. The Demons (7-5 4A WSL, 9-6 overall) are tied with Delta, which fell to league leader Palisade 4-2 on Tuesday, in the battle for the fourth and final WSL playoff spot.

“We’ve got to come to play,” Nieslanik stressed. “We’ve had a rollercoaster season. We’ve had some games we’ve given away. Now we’re in a position where we better come ready to play.”

Rifle (8-4, 12-5), hosting Palisade in a Saturday twin bill, moved into sole possession of third by beating Glenwood.

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