Rams fall to Bulldogs amid snow showers
With snow and cold temperatures dominating the forecast Tuesday, the Roaring Fork Rams and 2A No. 4 Hotchkiss Bulldogs battled through less than ideal conditions in the Bulldogs’ 14-3 win over the Rams at Ron Patch Field.
As as a mixture of sleet and snow fell throughout the game, the Roaring Fork pitching staff seemingly couldn’t heat up early on against one of the top teams in all of 2A in the state of Colorado, allowing the Bulldogs to stake themselves out to an early 6-0 lead before the Rams broke out the bats in a strong offensive day.
Trailing 6-0 after three innings of play, junior center fielder Aldo Pinela jump-started things for the Roaring Fork offense, ripping a lead-off single through the hole between shortstop and third base, giving the Rams their third base runner of the game.
Following his single to lead off the inning, Pinela then moved up 90 feet by stealing second one pitch later. The junior then picked up another 90 feet following a passed ball by Hotchkiss, putting the first Roaring Fork run just 90 feet away.
Two batters later sophomore shortstop Drew Broadhurst reached first base on a base on balls before then moving up to second base on a steal.
With cleanup hitter Hayden Bernot coming to the plate, Roaring Fork was in great position to cut the deficit to just four runs against the Bulldogs. Bernot, a junior, hit a slow roller to shortstop that he beat out for an infield single, driving in Pinela from third. On the throw from the Hotchkiss shortstop, the ball sailed high and reached the fence behind first base, allowing Broadhurst to race home from second base, making it 6-2 Bulldogs after three innings of play.
Thanks to two hits in the game and some fine defensive plays in the field, Bernot was award the Rams’ batting helmet for playing a great game. The tradition, which was started this year by Roaring Fork head coach Marty Madsen and his staff, is designed to recognize the one player who went above and beyond for the team in that game.
“He ripped off two straight great at-bats,” Madsen said. “He’s another kid that has ups and downs, but when he puts it together like he did today he’s fun to watch. It was good to see him step up today and play well for us.”
Coming right back in the top of the fourth inning, Hotchkiss added two runs on a sacrifice fly to center and an RBI single past second base, extending its lead back to six runs, 8-2.
The Rams would get one run back in the bottom half of the frame as sophomore infielder Ronnie Petatan reached base on a throwing error by the pitcher, giving the Rams life once again.
Two batters later freshman right fielder Layne Crisp drilled an RBI single into right field, making it 8-3 Bulldogs.
Petatan, who came on in relief to pitch 3 2/3 solid innings for the Rams, had a strong a day all around, which pleased the coaching staff.
“He’s the one kid that seems he’s here just to play ball,” Madsen said. “We need a guy or two like that come just to play ball. He never seems phased, and he’s laid back. We didn’t have him slotted as a pitcher in the beginning of the year, but he threw a bullpen in practice and looked good. Now he appears to be a quality arm for us to have down the stretch. It’s really exciting to have another young kid like that step up; he’s going to be a great ballplayer.
Hotchkiss would then add three runs in the fifth inning and four runs in the sixth inning to cap off the 14-3 win on the road.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs were in the game throughout, especially in the middle innings when they matched the Bulldogs play-for-play, which is a huge step forward for Madsen and his young squad.
“The big thing is that these guys are starting to realize that this whole thing we’re doing is a process,” Madsen said. “They’re taking their lumps and look ugly at times, but there are flashes of brilliance. I think that they’re starting to see that all of the hills and valleys of the season — especially with the opponents we’ve played — is setting us up for a big last two weeks with the meat of our league schedule still coming up here.
“I think they’re starting to realize that the work that they’re putting in and — I hate to say it — the beatings we’re taking is starting to pay off.”
With the loss, Roaring Fork falls to 1-10 on the season, but that record can certainly improve in league play to close out the year.
The Rams will travel to Basalt on Thursday for a matchup with the Longhorns at 4 p.m.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.