Demons scratch out a 12-9 victory on the baseball diamond
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Glenwood Springs baseball coach Eric Nieslanik knows early season Colorado baseball is all about piecing things together, and not always prettily.
With little practice outdoors while the state ” and particularly the Western Slope ” melts out from underneath months of snow, games tend to look a little sloppy the first few weeks of the season.
Sloppy is a good way to describe the Demons’ Thursday afternoon meeting with visiting Summit, a game Glenwood escaped with a 12-9 win heading into Saturday’s 4A Western Slope League opener against Steamboat Springs.
“We pieced her together, basically, Nieslanik said with a grin.
The Demons scrapped out their 12 runs on just six hits, taking full advantage of 11 walks issued by Summit pitching and two Tiger errors.
Neither team wasted any time churning out runs, with Summit putting up one in the top half of the first inning and Glenwood grinding out three in the bottom.
Ben Zieman capped a two-hit Demon rally by finding a hole in the left side of the infield with a two-run, groundball single. Taylor Larson led the inning off with a single ” eventually scoring on a wild pitch ” and Patrick Hailey and Dominick Gamba drew walks to contribute.
Summit scored its run after Josh Kroeng led the game off with a towering double into the left-field corner and then came around to score from third on a double steal.
From there, walks and errors paved the way for a plenty more offense. The Demons put up at least a run in each of the six offensive turns, with a two-run third inning and four-run fifth inning packing the biggest punches.
Summit sandwiched a three-run fourth inning between all that.
Glenwood drew four walks to piece together the two-spot in the third. The Demons used five walks and an RBI single to build an 11-4 lead in the fifth inning.
But the Tigers didn’t go without a fight, scrapping their way back into the game in the top of the sixth. Summit sent 10 batters to the plate, parlaying two Demon errors, two hits and two walks into four runs. Scott Rappleye had an RBI single to produce the only run driven in by a hit.
That made it 11-8 heading into Glenwood half of the sixth, in which Taylor Larson drilled an RBI double to give the Demons a little breathing room.
Still, the Tigers weren’t done, rallying for a run on two hits and a walk before Josh Kroeng found himself tossed out at home plate trying to score on a wild pitch. Earlier in the inning, Shane Werts, who doubled home Summit’s run, was thrown out sliding back into third after getting caught in a pickle trying to take home on a single by Rappleye.
In sending Werts, Tigers coach Bob Rentschler admitted he may have acting a bit too aggressively.
“We had a couple of big hits that last inning, but I was too desperate for runs,” he conceded. “I sent Shane for the second out and I shouldn’t have. I should have held him. It’s my fault for being too desperate for runs.”
And so Summit dropped to 0-7 on the young season while Glenwood improved to 2-3.
While it was far from pretty, the Demons were happy to sneak away with the win.
“We’re a young team, but we’re finally becoming confident,” Larson said. “We’re getting there. We need some more work and it’ll come.”
There were bright spots on both sides as far as the scorebook was concerned. Larson finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate for the Demons. Hailey had an RBI single and Zieman, Matt Snyder, Jason Whiting and Rocky Scholz all added hits.
Starting pitcher Cole Ullom picked up the win on the mound for Glenwood, pitching three-plus innings. Relievers Whiting, Chad Sommers and Taylor Larson combined to finish the final four.
Werts was 3-for-4 to pace the Tiger offense. Josh Kroeng and Rappleye each had two hits.
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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.