Cards recover, split with Titans |

Cards recover, split with Titans

Jon Mitchell
Grand Valley High school pitcher John Parker delivers to the plate during the second inning of the Cardinals' game against Coal Ridge during a Class 3A Western Slope League game on Saturday. The Cardinals beat the Titans
Jon Mitchell / Post Independent |

PEACH VALLEY — Grand Valley High School’s baseball team considered the first game of their doubleheader against Coal Ridge to be a game that got away from them. They made sure that didn’t happen in the second game.

John Parker threw a complete game on the mound and finished 3-for-3 batting at the plate for Grand Valley, which used a six-run first inning to set the tone for a 15-5, five-inning victory against the Titans just hours after Coal Ridge had rallied for a 9-5 victory in the opener.

“We knew everything that we needed to fix and what kind of mistakes we made in the first game,” Parker said. “They were all really prevalent in the first game.”

Aggressive play was prevalent in the second game for the Cardinals (1-3 overall, 1-1 Class 3A Western Slope League play), who jumped to a 6-0 first-inning lead in the nightcap and never looked back. That came after the Titans (4-3 overall, 3-1 league) had handed the Cardinals a potentially deflating loss, coming back from a 4-2 deficit by scoring seven of the game’s next eight runs.

Jared Radel finished 2-for-4 batting with three runs scored and Logan Olson, Luke Bowen, Tanner Magee and Justin Smith also finished with two hits to pace the Cardinals’ 15-hit attack. That performance from the plate accounted for three times as many hits as what Grand Valley managed against defending league champion Gunnison when they were swept by the Cowboys in a season-opening doubleheader in Parachute.

“They could have really let that first game get to them,” Grand valley coach Rory Roder said. “But instead, they came together and put together a great start, and the momentum just kept going.”

Parker took it from there, allowing just one earned run, no walks and four hits with 11 strikeouts. He struck out the first three batters he faced on nine pitches.

Meanwhile, Nathan Nelson finished with two of the Titans four hits in the second game, finishing 2 for 3 with a triple and an RBI. Coal Ridge coach Dan Larsen, though happy with his team’s tenacity in the opener, would have liked for it to have carried over into the nightcap.

“It’s like we were satisfied with just winning one game,” the second-tear Coal Ridge coach said. “Lucky for us we have some time to clean things up and … figure out who the guys are on this team who really want to play and contribute this year.”

In the second game, the first nine batters reached base off of starting pitcher Kevin Grivy, with Smith’s two-run, bases loaded single serving as the big blow in the six-run inning. Then after an RBI double from Zack Zordel highlighted a three-run second inning for Coal Ridge to pull the Titans within three, the Cardinals responded with a six-hit, seven-run third inning to take a 10-run lead.

In the first game, Nelson led the way again for Coal Ridge with a 2-for-4 performance, with his RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning highlighting a five-run frame that rallied the Titans from a 5-4 deficit. He also went the full seven innings on the mound, allowing nine hits and one walk with a hit batsman with 10 strikeouts. Five of the Titans’ eight base hits during the game came during their big, decisive sixth inning. Nelson and Jake Solinger each scored two runs in the game, and Parker, Radel and Tanner Magee each had two hits for Grand Valley. Cardinals pitcher Damien Vigil took the pitching loss, finishing with nine strikeouts and six walks in seven innings.

Grand Valley is off until April 4 when the Cardinals host Basalt. Coal Ridge plays next on April 1 when the Titans host a nonleague game against Summit.

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