Rams rally over young Demons | PostIndependent.com

Rams rally over young Demons

by Phil Sandoval
Post Independent Staff
Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

As important as talent is, experience is the element that turns a good high school baseball team into a winning one.

Roaring Fork’s 6-5 darkness-shortened, non-league victory over Glenwood Springs on Tuesday suggests the two teams are about equal when it comes to ability. When it comes to varsity-level experience, however, there was no equality.

After falling behind 5-2 in the fourth inning, the veteran Rams (1-0) waited for the young Demons (1-2) to make mistakes. In the sixth, Roaring Fork’s patience paid off.

Glenwood relief pitcher Chance Stevens gave up a leadoff walk to Ram hitter A.J. Joiner to start the inning. The Demon freshman appeared to be back in command when he retired the next two Ram batters.

But then, a Demon infield fielding error kick-started the Ram offense into gear.

The four-run, two-out rally, capped by back-to-back singles from seniors Max Green and Dan Markoya rattled the Demons.

At that point, senior Jake Boyle, Roaring Fork’s No. 1 pitcher, who started at third base and moved to the mound in the fifth, took note of Glenwood’s waning confidence and slammed the door on the Demons.

Boyle struck out three Glenwood batters in a row to wrap up the contest. In two innings of work, the Ram right-hander had six strikeouts against one walk.

Not a bad day for Roaring Fork, where six players got a late start on the season due to playing on the school’s state-tournament bound basketball team.

“We came down (here) with the idea of giving our guys some playing time,” said Roaring Fork coach Eric Nieslanik. “This was our first time out, and a lot of them haven’t faced live pitching.”

In the early stages of the game, Glenwood took advantage of the Rams’ rust. The Demons scored once in the first, third and fourth frames and broke a 2-all tie in the third on John Faris’ RBI-double and a run-producing error by Roaring Fork second baseman Jake Bowman.

After scoring twice in the second, the Rams’ bats were silenced by Glenwood pitchers John Faris and Jeremy Christener until the sixth.

“It took us a while to get going,” Nieslanik explained. “Their experience came through. When we needed some runs in that last inning, we came through and got what we needed.”

Although Glenwood coach Norm Bolitho was pleased with his team’s hitting and improved defense from last week’s league double-header with Steamboat Springs, he’s still concerned about “little mental mistakes.”

“We were not making the right cutoffs (on defense) and on a line drive we got a guy picked off on the bases,” the coach said.

Roaring Fork first baseman Nate Cheney’s snag of Nick Zambelli’s line drive turned into a inning-ending double play to halt a potentially big rally after the Demons scored twice in the third.

“We’re real young,” Bolitho said. “Some of these kids, it’s their first time playing varsity baseball and we’ve got to have patience, bring them along and get to where they start reacting instead of worrying about what’s going on.”

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