Leslie slam seals Demons’ fate
GSPI Sports Editor
The Demons have had trouble avoiding the big inning all season, and the lapses bit them again Saturday.
Palisade broke open a pair of tight games by scoring in bunches against Glenwood Springs as the Bulldogs earned a Class 4A Western Slope League baseball doubleheader sweep 12-4 and 6-1 at the Glenwood Springs Middle School field.
“We’ve been pretty consistent this season giving up the big inning,” Glenwood Springs coach Norm Bolitho said.
In the second game of the day, Glenwood’s Beau Chicione and Palisade’s Marcus Leslie were in the midst of a pitching dual through four innings. The Bulldogs led 2-1 until Leslie gave himself a cushion with a single swing at the plate.
With the bases loaded and a strong wind blowing out to right field, the lefty turned on a Chicione pitch and got the ball into the jet stream for a grand slam shot over the right-field fence.
“We’ve got a short right field and there was a strong wind,” Bolitho said. “It got up there a little and the wind pushed it out. That kind of hurts.”
The shot gave Palisade a 6-1 advantage headed into the sixth inning and the Demons didn’t threatened thereafter. Riding the adrenaline of hitting the four-bagger, Leslie faced just seven batters the final two innings.
“He was very good at keeping our timing off,” Bolitho said of the Bulldog hurler. “He threw a lot of offspeed stuff and had our guys reaching.”
Palisade was the first to get on the board when Jesse Widegren reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the second inning. Widegren crossed the plate two batters later after a steal and advancing on a pair of ground balls.
The Demons evened the score in the fourth when John Faris scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jacob Greer.
Demons: see page 14
Glenwood had a chance for more than just one run in the fourth, opening the frame with three hits, but couldn’t take advantage. Chicione was thrown out at home and one runner was stranded in the inning.
Although the Demons out-hit Palisade 9-7 in the game, the Demons were unable to cash in with seven players left on base in the game.
“Every time we hit the ball hard we would hit it right at somebody,” Bolitho said. “We just have to keep working, keep swinging.
“(Chicione) threw like he has all year long. He did his job,” Bolitho added.
Palisade took a 2-1 edge in the bottom of the fourth when the Demon center fielder lost the potential third out in the sun and Widegren scored from third on the miscue.
Matt Miller, Faris and Boyd Milhorn paced the Demons offensively, all finishing with a 2-for-3 day from the plate.
In the first game of the day, Palisade’s Michael Embrey’s two-run homer keyed a four-run fourth inning to give Palisade a 5-0 lead.
The Bulldogs increased their lead to 12-0 midway through the sixth inning, and put Glenwood in danger of being 10-runned, before Milhorn smacked his first homer of the season, a three-run shot. Glenwood added another run but couldn’t dig out of the hole.
Milhorn finished the game 2-for-4 and Chicione was 3-for-4.
Andy Abbot paced Palisade with a 3-for-4 showing and three RBIs.
Glenwood drops to 3-6 in WSL play, while Palisade improves to 6-4.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.