Demons’ playoff hopes die with twinbill loss
Post Independent Staff
GRAND JUNCTION ” Blame it on the rain.
Rainy weather earlier this week produced unplayable conditions at the Demons’ home field at Glenwood Springs Middle School for Saturday’s doubleheader with Palisade.
Due to the need to get both games in so CHSAA can get the state playoffs started next weekend, Glenwood was forced to move its home baseball contest to Grand Junction’s Canyon View Park. The move didn’t help the Demons a bit.
Palisade took advantage of the familiar digs and eight Demon errors to take both games of the twin bill, 7-3 and 3-0.
And the Demons, who had a playoff spot clinched if they could gain a split, watched their season wither away.
“Its tough to end the season on a note like that,” said Demons coach Norm Bolitho. “We just didn’t play very well. Coming down the stretch, I thought that we were playing more consistent ” I don’t know if we were just uptight, but if you give teams extra chances to beat you like we did today, you’re going to get beat.”
The Demons had control with a 3-1 lead in the third inning of game one. And, with ace pitcher Beau Chicoine on the mound, Glenwood had a good chance of making the second game meaningless.
Glenwood’s defense made that idea unravel quickly.
Two fourth-inning errors by Demons shortstop Nick Zambelli, along with a Chicoine wild pitch and three Palisade base hits, allowed the Bulldogs to go up 4-3. And they never looked back.
Cory Swetnam sealed the deal when he blanked Glenwood for the rest of the game. He limited the Demons to three hits from the fifth inning on, slipping out of a jam when Taylor Wilde and John Faris dinged the Palisade starter for back-to-back singles in the fifth with one out. The rally died, however, with a pair of infield outs.
Palisade gave itself some breathing room with two runs in the sixth.
Game two was equally frustrating for Glenwood.
Scoreless after an inning and a half, the Demons loaded the bases in the second and came up empty.
Starter John Faris was equal to the challenge, matching zeros with opposing pitcher Josh Tooker into the fifth. The Demons senior actually had a better outing than Tooker, holding Palisade to four hits. Faris also didn’t give up an earned run in the game.
“John did what he had to do,” Bolitho said. “You come out and throw a four-hitter, you should walk off the mound with a win. Unfortunately, we didn’t play strong enough defense to make that effort hold up.”
In the top of the fifth Chicoine raised the Demons’ spirits with a one-out triple. But he never moved.
Then the defense faltered again in the bottom of the frame.
Palisade leadoff hitter Matt Barnes reached second on infielder Tim Cashel’s fielding miscue and errant throw. After reaching third on a sacrifice bunt, Barnes scored on a wild pitch.
The Bulldogs widened their lead to 3-0 on two more unearned runs in the sixth.
Tooker, who scattered six hits with six strikeouts, shut the door on Faris’ two-out flyball after Chicoine and Wilde extended the seventh inning by reaching base on a single and a rare Tooker walk.
Glenwood ends the season with a record of 7-7 in league (9-9 overall). Palisade heads to the postseason at 8-6 (8-11).
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Rifle High School wrestling won its matchup with Glenwood Springs Tuesday at the Glenwood triangular, while the Palisade Bulldogs took down both local teams.