Demons down Bears for first win
RIFLE – It wasn’t a gem, but Glenwood Springs turned a sloppy-played baseball game with Rifle into a jewel.
The Demons allowed the Bears to steal 15 bases, walked 10 and hit two batters, but held on for a 9-7 victory in Western Slope League baseball action Thursday.
The win is Glenwood’s first in eight games this season, and it removed the monkey from the Demons’ back – finally.
Tuesday’s victory also knocked Rifle from its undefeated perch atop the Western Slope League.
Glenwood knocked out 16 hits in the contest, and had a two-run edge going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
But a two-run lead doesn’t count for much when the Demons and Bears get together.
Earlier, the Bears, who never led in the game, tied the game at 4-all in the fourth and reached within one of Glenwood’s lead twice in the later innings.
With two outs in the seventh inning Rifle had the winning run at the plate, but pitcher Andrew Blake slammed the door.
The senior ended the game by alertly making the play on Owen Madison’s smash back to the pitcher’s mound after deflecting the blast. With the ball laying on the infield grass, just beyond the mound, Blake grabbed the ball and tossed it to first base for the third out.
“I just wasn’t going to let that ball get by me. It was just my desire to get to it and make the play,” Blake said.
It was desire, according to Glenwood coach Mike Laster, along with the distaste of losing to Class 3A Eagle Valley on Monday that spurred the Demons efforts on Tuesday.
“The boys were down in the dumps after the loss to Eagle Valley,” said Laster. “I think it built character and put an inner fire in them.”
That fire burned inside Justin Jerome, who had a big role in Glenwood’s win.
The senior went 4-for-4, including a two-run double to give the Demons a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Jerome also fashioned a gutsy effort as Glenwood’s starting pitcher.
Before turning the reins over to Brian Raymond in the fifth, Jerome threw 101 pitches and had just enough to keep Rifle away from producing a big comeback inning.
The Bears got close twice, 6-5 after the fifth and 8-7 after the six, but couldn’t get the key hit. Rifle stranded eight baserunners, and left the bases loaded in third.
“We made a lot of errors on simple plays. We didn’t execute and our hitting was lousy,” said Rifle coach Troy Phillips, whose Bears drop to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in the WSL.
“Our guys were swinging at bad pitches and we let them out of jams,” he said.
Offensively, only two of Rifle’s batters were hitting the ball. Shane Fazzi and Scott Van Slyke had four of the Bears’ five singles in the game.
Both teams resume play on Saturday at home. Rifle has an 11 a.m. doubleheader scheduled with league foe Battle Mountain at Cooper Field. Glenwood has a newly-scheduled nonleague single game on tap against Cedaredge at Glenwood Springs Middle School at 11 a.m.
Glenwood Springs 9, Rifle 7
Glenwood 202 022 1-9 16 3
Rifle 002 212 0-7 5 5
Justin Jerome, Brian Raymond (5), Andrew Blake (7) and Ryan Millyard, John Faris (5); Owen Madison and Scott Van Slyke.
GLENWOOD – Brian Raymond 2-5, Thomas Suazo 0-4, Justin Jerome 4-4 (2B-2), Jeremy Ureche 2-3, Brock Milhorn 1-3, John Faris 1-3, Andrew Blake 2-3, Seth Smith 0-0, Tiernan Conway 3-4, Michael Hoban 1-4.
RIFLE – Nick Babler 0-3, Owen Madison 0-3, Jason Enewold 0-2, Scott Van Slyke 2-3, Shane Fazzi 2-3, Kip Jessup 0-2, Adam Krick 0-2, Chappie Cook 1-3, Eli Snead 0-1, Matt Jones 0-3.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.