Five-run second inning leads Demons over Titans
A five-run second inning against the Coal Ridge Titans Thursday afternoon at Glenwood Springs Middle School keyed the Demons’ 9-5 win in a nonleague battle between two local teams on a chilly day.
Glenwood erupted for the five-run inning against the Titans as Tyler Boyd, Stephen Romero and Chano Gonzales all picked up RBIs in the frame before the Demons stretched the lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the third inning, as John Jensen ripped a single to right, driving in Jake Brown after a lead-off double.
“I thought the boys broke out in a big way and hit the ball well that inning,” Glenwood Head Coach Eric Nieslanik said. “I was real pleased with how the boys hit the ball. They had good approaches all game long, and that really seemed to get us started.”
Brown’s shot to left-center hit the bottom of the fence, just missing a home run before reaching third on a Coal Ridge error, putting runners at first and third. Brown was then thrown out at home on a pick-off play, allowing Howe to race to third.
Holding a 6-0 lead after three innings of play, the Demons looked to settle into a groove, but the Titans battled back for two runs in the top of the fourth as senior Tyler Slone led off the frame with a walk before heading to second on a passed ball.
Two batters later, junior Ty Huck drove in Slone with a line-drive single to right. Three batters after Huck singled to right, freshman Ryan Kotz — courtesy running for Huck — raced home for Coal Ridge’s second run of the game on a Glenwood pick-off play, pulling the Titans to within four, 6-2.
Glenwood responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth as Gonzales led off with a single to center before Boyd followed with a single to right, putting runners on first and third.
With a runner in scoring position, Romero capitalized for the Demons, roping a single up the middle to stretch Glenwood’s lead to 7-2.
Cooper Cornelius followed Romero looking to drive in Boyd from second, but a line drive to third was hauled in by Coal Ridge freshman Jared Whitaker, who turned the double play at second, catching Boyd well off the bag.
Glenwood shook off the double play though as Brown reached base with an infield single before a walk loaded the bases for the Demons.
Davis Deaton drew a bases loaded walk to stretch Glenwood’s lead to 8-2 before Brandon Benzel made it 9-2 with a sharp single to left, driving in Brown.
“I thought we made way too many mental errors today,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Dan Larsen said. “The boys came out flat. It was one of those trap games for us where we needed to save pitching for the weekend and couldn’t throw everything at them, and it seemed like our heads just weren’t into the game to start.”
Trailing 9-2 in the top of the fifth inning, Coal Ridge responded with two more runs to keep themselves in the game as freshman Jared Lund hit a one-out single to center before junior Jake Whitaker walked, putting runners on first and second.
Slone then drew a walk to load the bases for the Titans, leading to a high popup to shallow right by Huck that gave Glenwood fits.
Boyd tracked the ball all the way into shallow right for the Demons, but the ball just skipped off of his glove on the play, allowing Lund and Whitaker to score, pulling Coal Ridge to with five at 9-4.
Following the two-run fifth, Slone would slam the door on the Demons, striking out four of the last five Glenwood hitters he faced to keep the Titans in the game, but Coal Ridge was only able to scratch just one run across in the final inning as the relay throw on a potential double play skipped wide of first base in the top of the seventh, allowing Slone to race home for the sixth and final run of the game for Coal Ridge.
With the win, Glenwood improves to 6-7, 3-4 4A Western Slope League on the season, while Coal Ridge falls to 3-8, 2-2 3A Western Slope League.
“Overall, I’m just real pleased with the way that we played tonight in general,” Nieslanik said. “We were able to get quite a few boys into the game, and we had some really good infield play tonight throughout the game.”
The Demons will host Palisade Saturday morning for a league doubleheader, while the Titans will travel to Aspen Saturday morning for a league matchup with the Skiers.
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Coal Ridge 69, Grand Junction Central 23