Cards sweep Titans in doubleheader
Post Independent Staff
NEW CASTLE ” Between them, Grand Valley and Coal Ridge had three brilliant pitching efforts in Saturday’s Class 2A West/South League, Northern Division doubleheader.
Cardinals starters Tyler Jensen and Josh Selby won their ball games, 7-0 and 3-0, respectively. Both tossed three-hitters at the Titans.
The other guy ” Coal Ridge’s Alex Haynes ” deserved a victory as well. The Titan freshman held Grand Valley to a fifth-inning single with 11 strikeouts. But as hard as it might be for Haynes to accept ” that’s baseball.
Make that good baseball.
“It was a combination that got us the wins,” said Grand Valley coach Jeff Bradley. “Our two sophomore pitchers threw pretty well. We had good defense, and we played good fundamental baseball.”
Defense, along with the good outings by Jensen and Selby, contributed to the Cardinals’ sweep.
Grand Valley took advantage of five Coal Ridge errors to manufacture a lead in game one.
Matt Thompson and Mike Shepard scored on Titan miscues to give Grand Valley a 2-0 lead in the second inning. A misplay of Colton Cowan’s base hit by Coal Ridge outfielder Joe Miller led to another run in the third.
Austin Oeltjubrans’ fourth inning wild pitch, followed by Titan catcher Josh Alsop’s passed ball, added another run to the Cardinals’ lead.
The 4-0 stake was more than enough for Jensen to work with.
He eliminated a Coal Ridge threat back in the second by snagging Titan hitter John Konula’s liner back to the box, then retiring Oeltjubrans at third for an inning-ending double play.
After that, the Titans had two baserunners in scoring position the rest of the game. As luck would have it, one was Haynes, who managed to reach third with one out in the fifth. But he was stranded when Jensen retired the next two hitters.
A nine-strikeout three-hitter with two doubles and two RBIs would be an awesome day for most players.
But with another game to play, Jensen wasn’t finished yet.
Despite giving up a first-inning run to the Cardinals in game two, Grand Valley hadn’t figured out Haynes.
Danny Manzaneres gave Grand Valley a 1-0 lead when Titan shortstop Zack Lyons couldn’t get enough of Matt Thompson’s grounder to make a play. On third, via being hit by a Haynes pitch, a stolen base and a wild pitch, Manazaneres sped home without a play at the plate.
With Haynes ringing up four of his 11 K’s in the second and third, the Cardinals went down easily.
In the fourth, Coal Ridge got the break they had been looking for all day.
Haynes rapped a Selby pitch hard to left, forcing Shepard to pursue the ball. The hit had the smell of an inside-the-park home run as Haynes chugged around the bases, but Jensen stopped that idea cold.
Running to the outfield, the Cardinal shortstop grabbed Shepard’s relay throw and fired quickly to third. The throw forced Haynes to hit the breaks, barely evading Manzaneres’ tag.
“(Jensen) made a heck of a turn on a well-hit ball,” said Coal Ridge head coach Steve Schilt. “That would have usually scored (Haynes) but we had to turn him back. Then we just couldn’t get the next hit to get him over.”
The sweep was Grand Valley’s first wins in league play this season, and raised the 3-2 Cardinals’ current winning streak to three straight. Last week, Grand Valley defeated Meeker in a nonleague game at El Jebel.
Coal Ridge (0-4 league, 1-6 overall) plays Meeker in a rescheduled doubleheader at Riverside School Monday.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.