Ex-Dodger turns to prep baseball
Greg Brock’s first exposure to high school baseball on the Western Slope was an eye-opener.
As the head coach of Loveland Mountain View High School, the former Los Angeles Dodger/Milwaukee Brewer star, watched his team get a stern test against an untested Rifle squad playing its first game of the 2002 season.
Entering Friday’s game Mountain View was unbeaten in five games, and ranked sixth in the Class 4A state baseball poll.
But, for most of the 10-7 nonleague win that Brock’s Mountain Lions pulled out against the Bears, Rifle played like the better club at Cooper Field.
“This was a big win for us after falling behind,” Brock said. “Rifle took it to us; they have a good ball club,” said the former major league player turned prep manager.
“They swung the bats well,” he added, referring to the Bears’ 10 hits.
“I was just happy we could battle back.”
Brock said any overconfidence his team had about playing on the Western Slope vanished after the third inning when the Bears had built a 7-2 lead.
“For us to be a good ball club, we’ve got to work every inning,” Brock said of his Mountain View team.
“We can’t let up for an inning. That’s what happened. I don’t think we gave them the runs. (Rifle) hit the ball and they earned them.”
Jason Enewold provided most of the punch in Rifle’s two rallies.
His two-run homer off Casey Brock, the coach’s son, in the second gave the Bears a 3-2 lead.
An inning later, Enewold’s RBI-single sparked a four-run outburst.
Rifle got key RBI-hits from catcher Scott Van Slyke and sophomore outfielder Taylor Arbaney to put the Bears up by five.
And after a rough first inning, Danny Fedirko, the Bears’ starting pitcher had found the groove.
“Danny was able to throw his curve ball for a strike. He started throwing the curve earlier in the count, and that kept them off-balance,” said Rifle coach Troy Phillips on Fedirko’s success in the second through fourth innings.
Fedirko held Mountain View scoreless before being dented for a solo run in the fifth.
That run turned out to be warning sign.
Throughout the game Mountain View was making contact on Fedirko’s pitches. In the sixth, it cost Rifle two runs.
A Rifle throwing error was promptly cashed in when Nate Pearcy hammered a two-out, two-run double to left. Fedirko halted the Lion attack with an inning-ending strikeout, but after seeing their lead shrink to 7-5, Rifle’s offense slowed.
Mountain View relievers Dillon Coldiron and Nate Augustine limited the Bears to one baserunner in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.
In the top half of the seventh, Mountain View started to rally, boosted by back-to-back Bear erros.
Enewold relieved for the Bears.
But Mountain View continued to rally with consecutive run-scoring singles.
The Lions broke the 7-7 tie two batters later on Kyle Houge’s single to right. The hit scored the tie-breaking run and the go-ahead run when it was misplayed in the field.
“I was happy with the performance overall. You take a few things one way or the other and that game changes,” Phillips said of the Bears.
“They were prepared for this game, and they played well. We had some balls get by us in the outfield … now we know that we need to work on that a little more.
“Hopefully, that will be taken care of shortly and we’ll be ready to go again.”
Apparently, the Bears were ready.
On Saturday, the Bears swept a Western Slope League doubleheader from Delta at Cooper Field.
The Bears won the opener 10-7 behind the pitching of Enewold. They won the second game 13-2 in five innings, with Nick Krick picking up the win.
The Bears held a 4-3 in the first game when they scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
They added three more in the fifth. Jesse Holgate had two doubles for the Bears. Krick, Enewold and Van Slyke also doubled.
Enewold, Krick, and Barth each drove in a pair of runs in the second game. Enewold had three hits in the run-shortened game.
In other weekend baseball, Glenwood Springs took a doubleheader from Steamboat in Craig on Saturday.
For details on the Demons’ two wins over the Sailors, see Monday’s edition of the Post Independent.
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