Demons playoff bound after split
GSPI Sports Editor
It took a seventh-inning, five-run rally and a stellar performance from pitcher Justin Jerome, but the Glenwood Springs Demons swept Steamboat Springs 9-8 and 11-1 in a Class 4A Western Slope League doubleheader Saturday.
The victory, along with Palisade’s doubleheader split against Moffat County on Saturday, clinches the final postseason berth from the WSL for the Demons.
Glenwood is in fourth place in the WSL with a league record of 6-5 and one game left on the schedule. Palisade finished its season with a 6-6 league mark, but the Demons own the tiebreaker advantage.
A sweep of the Sailors looked unlikely headed into the bottom of the seventh inning as Steamboat held an 8-4 advantage.
Steamboat pitcher Preston Stanfill got Tom Suazo to ground out to open bottom half of the final frame, but it was the last out of the game for the Sailors.
John Faris cracked the flood gates with a single, then advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. A catchable pop fly to short right field by Andrew Blake hit the ground without touching leather to put Demon runners at first and third and set the table for cleanup hitter Jeremy Ureche.
Ureche, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, pounded a line drive over the right-field fence to cut the margin to 8-7.
“I saw the pitch before was a high strike on the outside and (Stanfill) threw another one and I just went with it,” Ureche said.
Justin Jerome kept the Demon rally going with a looping single to right field and Brock Milhorn sealed the deal with an unconventional four-bagger.
Milhorn, who finished the game a homer short of the cycle, drilled a triple to the center-field fence and a bad throw to third allowed the senior to rumble home for the victory.
“Ureche’s home run set the tone and got us hyped up to put the bat on the ball,” Milhorn said. “We just knew we had to score five runs, and it just so happened that the (offensive) fire lit in the bottom of the seventh.”
“I was terribly disappointed that we weren’t hitting (Stanfill), and I kept waiting for the bats to wake up,” Glenwood coach Mike Laster said. “I said to the team, wouldn’t it be great to get five runs and win it. And they did it.”
Shortstop Tyler Fosdick paced the Sailors offensively and defensively in the game, going 3-for-4 with a double.
“He’s just been doing a fantastic job,” Steamboat coach Sean Hicks said. “He comes to play every game.”
But the Demon rally took the life out of Steamboat in the second game.
“It’s just deflating when you lose in the last inning,” Hicks said. “It’s deflating for everybody and in the second game it showed.
“Preston has been a workhorse all season and he hasn’t gotten any run support,” he added. “Then the one game he gets help he loses.”
Jerome, who earned the first-game pitching win working two innings, stymied the Sailors for the next five innings.
The senior allowed just three hits in the game, two of which came in the first inning.
“One thing about Justin Jerome is he tends to get stronger as the game goes on,” Laster said. “Today he had a gutsy performance and pitched five incredible innings.”
After the first inning, Jerome didn’t allow a runner to reach second base in the second game.
Steamboat stayed close through the first two innings, but Glenwood led 6-1 after four innings and scored five in the fifth for the mercy-rule shortened victory.
Faris paced the Demons with three RBIs, while Blake and Ureche each drove in a pair of runners. Tiernan Conway and Mike Hoban were both a perfect 3-for-3 in the game.
Glenwood is scheduled to play Delta at 4 p.m. Monday in the regular-season finale.
GLENWOOD 9-11, STEAMBOAT 8-3
Steamboat 130 300 1-8 14 4
Glenwood 100 210 5-9 10 6
Preston Stanfill and Charles Cogburn. Tiernan Conway, Justin Jerome (5) and Jeremy Ureche.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Tyler Fosdick 3-4 (2B), Sean Murphy 1-4, Stanfill 2-4, Nick Hughes 2-4, Cogburn 2-4, Jon Reese 1-4 Kevin Martin 1-4, James Park 1-4, Zack Hertel 1-4.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Tom Suazo 1-4, John Faris 1-3, Andrew Blake 1-4, Jeremy Ureche 3-4 (2B, HR), Justin Jerome 1-3, Brock Milhorn 3-4 (2B, 3B), Brian Raymond 0-2, Conway 1-2 (2B), Mike Hoban 0-2.
Steamboat 100 00-1 3 4
Glenwood 122 15-11 10 1
Murphy and Stanfill. Jerome and Ureche.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Fosdick 1-2, Murphy 0-3, Stanfill 1-2, Hughes 0-2, Cogburn 0-1, Reese 0-1, Martin 0-1, Engle 0-2, Christian Hogrefe1-2.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Suazo 0-3, Faris 2-4, Blake 2-3, Ureche 3-4 (2B), Jerome 2-4, Milhorn 1-4, Raymond 2-4 (2B), Conway 3-3, Hoban 3-3.
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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.