Demons land three on all-conference first team
Behind a second-place finish in the 4A Western Slope League, and an appearance in the 4A state playoffs for the first time since 2012, the Glenwood Springs Demons baseball team landed three players on the league’s first-team all-conference list, finishing tied with the Steamboat Springs Sailors for the second-most players on the first team in the league. The Palisade Bulldogs led the league with six players.
Along with Glenwood, the Rifle Bears saw two players earn first-team all-conference honors.
Glenwood junior pitcher/shortstop Chano Gonzalez earned the first spot for Glenwood, finishing off his junior season by hitting .455 with five doubles, one home run and 21 runs batted in at the plate. Gonzalez added 13 stolen bases, while going 6-3 on the mound with a 7.38 earned run average, striking out 50 hitters, while walking 36 in 37 innings pitch.
Senior second baseman Tyler Boyd and senior pitcher/centerfielder Davis Deaton also earned first-team honors for Glenwood under head coach Eric Nieslanik. Boyd hit .403 on the year, recording 27 hits, including eight doubles, finishing with 11 runs batted in. Boyd added 11 stolen bases on the season, while scoring a team-high 29 runs on the season. Deaton hit .375 with 18 runs batted in, while going 3-1 with a 3.09 earned run average on the season on the mound. The lefty struck out 54 batters and walked 36 in 34 innings of work.
For Rifle, sophomore shortstop/pitcher Derek Wagler and senior outfielder/pitcher Connor Gould earned first-team honors for the Bears under head coach Troy Phillips.
Wagler hit .458 on the year, hitting five doubles and driving in 13 runs on the season. Wagler also went 14-for-15 on stolen base attempts for the Bears, while scoring 14 runs on the season. On the mound, Wagler went 1-3 with a 7.16 ERA in 12 appearances, striking out 22 hitters in 28.1 innings pitched, walking 25.
Gould hit .388 for the Bears, hitting five doubles and one home run, driving in 12 runs, scoring eight times on the season. Gould went 8-for-9 on stolen base attempts, and reached base at a .537 clip for Rifle. On the mound, Gould went 3-3 with a 4.42 earned run average in 10 appearances (eight starts), striking out 29 hitters and walking 31 in 38 innings of work.
On the honorable mention team, Glenwood landed three players, as senior catcher/outfielder Jake Brown, sophomore third baseman/pitcher Sam Fitzwilliams, and sophomore outfielder/pitcher Cole Houston earned honorable mention accolades for the Demons.
Brown hit .423 on the season, driving in 13 runs on the year while recording seven doubles and one home run, while recording a .952 fielding percentage behind the plate for Glenwood. Fitzwilliams burst onto the scene for the Demons, hitting .447 (second best on the team), while driving in a team-high 21 runs to tie with Gonzalez for the team lead. Fitzwilliams hit three doubles, one triple, and two home runs on the season as well. On the mound, Fitzwilliams recorded a 5.25 earned run average in just three appearances, striking out five in four innings of work.
Houston pitched the third-most innings for Glenwood, finishing with a 4.42 earned run average, going 2-0 in six appearances. The sophomore struck out 21 and walked 18 in 12.2 innings of work, allowing just five hits. At the plate, Houston hit .275 with three doubles, driving in nine runs, scoring 16 runs of his own.
Palisade swept the individual awards, as sophomore Stevenson Reynolds (.397, two home runs, 24 runs batted in) earned Player of the Year honors, senior Brett Wagner (3-2, 3.46 ERA, 50 K’s in 32.1 innings pitched) earned Pitcher of the Year honors, and head coach Nate Porter (15-6, 11-1 4A Western Slope League) earned Coach of the Year honors.
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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.