Broadhurst strikes out 12, leads Carbondale’s Rams over Rifle Bears
Roaring Fork senior pitcher Drew Broadhurst is in some kind of zone on the mound lately.
Coming off of a complete-game, 16-strikeout performance Saturday at Basalt, Broadhurst took the ball Wednesday against the Rifle Bears in a nonleague game and recorded another 12 strikeouts, leading the Rams to a big 4-1 win at Ron Patch Memorial Field in Carbondale.
After giving up a solo shot to left to Rifle senior lead-off hitter Luke Ellis on the second pitch of the game, Broadhurst allowed just five base runners the rest of the way, shutting down a strong Bears attack on the day.
“I knew coming in that the top four or five guys would be strong, but after that, it was about keeping my pitch count low,” Broadhurst said after the win. “After the first time through the order, we saw how they swung at some of my pitches, so Ralph [Good] and I came up with a plan to attack them early with off-speed pitches, and blow them away with the fastball. It worked well for us.”
Trailing 1-0 thanks to Ellis’ lead-off homer to left field, Roaring Fork mounted a rally in the bottom of the second inning.
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Sophomore left fielder Frankie Harrington singled to left with one out in the inning, before sophomore third baseman Eli Nickamin walked, putting runners on first and second. A balk from Rifle junior starting pitcher Randy Starks allowed the runners to advance to second and third with one out, but a comebacker to the mound allowed Starks to hold the runners at second and third. He then struck out freshman Graham Pietsch, keeping the Rams scoreless on the afternoon.
In the second and third innings, Broadhurst struck out four of the seven hitters he faced, keeping the game at 1-0 Rifle, before the Rams broke through in the bottom of the third inning.
Sophomore Isabella Hernandez led off the inning with a bloop single to center, before then advancing to second on a pitch in the dirt, giving the Rams a runner in scoring position for the second straight inning.
This time, Broadhurst helped himself, as the senior drilled an RBI triple to right-center, tying the game at 1-1.
Broadhurst was stranded at third after junior Dawson Kuhl grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
With the game tied at 1-1, Broadhurst ran into a little trouble in the top of the fourth, as Rifle sophomore Derek Wagler reached on an error to lead off the inning. Wagler then stole second, before sophomore Andres Vega reached base after being hit by a pitch. With runners at first and second, Broadhurst induced a fly out to centerfielder Layne Crisp and a groundout to Pietsch at short, ending the Rifle threat.
Roaring Fork loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Nickamin and Pietsch walked, and senior Hector Pelayo reached on an error, but a swinging strikeout ended the threat, keeping the game tied at 1-1.
Coming out for the top of the fifth inning, Broadhurst locked in right away, leading to an impressive 11-pitch inning in which the senior struck out the side.
“He commanded the outside part of the plate consistently, and our guys didn’t swing at the pitches they should have,” Rifle Head Coach Troy Phillips said. “We got behind and didn’t do a good job with two strikes today.”
Building off of Broadhurst’s electric top of the fifth, the Rams came up to bat and put up a three-spot on the Bears to take a 4-1 lead.
Senior Ralph Good led off with a single down the third baseline, before Broadhurst reached on an error, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Kuhl then drew a walk to load the bases, leading to a two-run double to right over a drawn-in infield, for Harrington, making it a 3-1 game.
“He’s [Harrington] shown a lot of maturity at the plate, and I’m really pleased with the way he’s handling the bat lately,” Roaring Fork Head Coach Marty Madsen said. “He knew exactly what to do with the bat there, he got a pitch he could handle, and he did it.”
Nickamin followed Harrington’s two-run single with a walk, leading to an RBI groundout by Pelayo to make it a 4-1 game, before Wagler was able to get out of the inning for the Bears.
“He was just trying to be too fine,” Phillips said following the loss. “He walked two guys; you’re going to give up some hits, so you have to challenge them. I went out there for a mound visit and told him to challenge the hitters, and he did a great job of that afterwards. We should have taken care of a groundball behind him, which should have kept it at 3-1, but we didn’t make too many plays today.”
Holding a 4-1 lead, and with Broadhurst locked in on the mound, the Rams quickly closed out the game. Broadhurst struck out two hitters in the top of the seventh before then getting a pop-out back to the mound, giving the Rams the 4-1 win at home.
“We’re trying to get back to where I feel we belong,” Madsen said. “We’ve had so many games where I’ve felt like we beat ourselves, but we went out today and beat a good Rifle team. We didn’t give it away, and we didn’t make mistakes. Drew pitched well; he’s in a zone right now.”
Sitting at 5-5 on the season, Roaring Fork will travel to Coal Ridge on Tuesday for a 3A Western Slope League game, while Rifle (6-6) will travel to Glenwood on Saturday for a 4A Western Slope League doubleheader.
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It may be by a technicality, but the Valley Valkyries 7s rugby club were the de facto champions of their hosted tournament this weekend.