Gunnison slugs past Roaring Fork
Shawn Hawk stepped into the batter’s box.
He set his feet, cocked his bat and looked to the pitcher’s mind.
The first pitch of the 3A Western Slope District Baseball Tournament headed toward the plate at Patch Memorial Field in Carbondale.
But just as fast as the ball headed south, it immediately changed direction and headed north as the Gunnison leadoff batter hit the ball over the fence in left-centerfield for a home run.
One pitch, one swing, one hit, one homer – one-oh Gunnison.
Hawk’s leadoff homer set the tone for the tournament quarterfinal game Friday afternoon, a home game earned by host Roaring Fork after a strong regular-season.
Yet after one-half inning, Gunnison led the Rams 3-0 when the Cowboys added two doubles and a single to Hawk’s home run.
Plus the Cowboys took advantage of what would be the first of four uncharacteristic Roaring Fork errors in the game.
Gunnison, scoring in each of the first four innings, buiit a 9-0 lead and finished with a 9-2 victory over the stunned Rams.
The Cowboys rode on to the District Tournament semifinals in Grand Junction with the victory.
The loss ended the season for the Rams, who scrambled for a middle-innings rally.
Designated hitter Quin Garvick brought the Roaring Fork crowd and dugout to life with his two-out home run to center in the bottom of the fourth inning.
But deceptive left-hander Rob Viehman eventually pitched out of trouble after Ben Wright reached on an error and Derrick Edgar followed with a single.
The Rams added another single run in the fifth, again with a two-out rally.
Rams’ starting pitcher Kevin Broadhurst started with a single to left.
He was forced at second on a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop by Kevin Armstrong.
Roaring Fork’s Josh Stewart then crushed a pitch to right-center. The ball bounced off the fence for an RBI-double with Armstrong scoring the second run for the Rams.
Viehman again pitched out of trouble, later adding scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh.
Jake Boyle relieved for Roaring Fork and pitched three scoreless innings – the fifth, sixth and seventh.
He recorded five strikeouts in his three innings on the mound for Roaring Fork.
Boyle also had one of the Rams’ eight hits against the Gunnison left-hander.
Broadhurst had a pair of singles for the Rams. Edgar also had two hits in the Ram loss.
Roaring Fork finished the season 11-9 overall and a 6-2 record in the Western Slope League.
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The brackets are set for the 12-team 4A girls lacrosse state championships, and the Roaring Fork Rams are dancing as the No. 9 seed.