RFHS sweeps Aspen
The question of who is going to finish third in the three-team Class 3A Western Slope League baseball race will be answered this week.
And with a little help, Roaring Fork hopes to earn the No. 3 spot after Saturday’s home doubleheader with Eagle Valley, the current third-place team heading into the final week of league play.
Roaring Fork’s doubleheader sweep of Aspen last Saturday puts the Rams (8-4 WSL, 11-4 overall) a half-game back of the Devils (7-3 WSL) in the league standings with two league games left on the schedule.
Eagle Valley and Gunnison (7-5), the other two teams in the hunt, each have four league contests to play. The teams that finish higher in the eight-team league earn a higher seed and get to host a first-round home game in the upcoming district tournament.
Against Aspen, Taylor Arbaney and Jake Bowman pitched the Rams to a 10-3 first-game win. In the afternoon contest, Roaring Fork’s Jake Boyle tossed a 10 strikeout, three-hitter in a 10-0 victory stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.
In his last three appearances, Boyle, who raised his win-loss record to 7-1 on the year, has allowed five hits in 15 innings pitched and is among the 3A state leaders in strikeouts with 80.
Bowman and teammate Dan Markoya led the Ram offense with nine hits between the two players in the doubleheader. Bowman was 5-for-8 at the plate and scored six runs. Markoya had four hits and five RBIs.
Prior to the Eagle Valley doubleheader, Roaring Fork has a pair of nonleague games at Rangely on Tuesday and in Carbondale with Glenwood Springs on Wednesday afternoon.
Grand Valley defeats MC, falls to Paonia
The Grand Valley Cardinals took a 9-4 decision over Moffat County’s junior varsity team in Craig on April 22 when the Cardinals distanced themselves from the Bulldogs with six runs in the first three innings.
Two bases-loaded walks combined with two Moffat County passed balls with a runner on third base allowed the Cardinals to take a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Grand Valley added to its lead with solo tallies in the second and third, and led by as many as eight runs. Pitcher Frank McPheron finished with 12 strikeouts before turning the ball over to Jeremy Quick to record the game’s final out.
On Saturday, the Cardinals dropped a league doubleheader to Paonia, 8-7 and 15-0, but Grand Valley gave the No. 1 team in Class 2A a scare in game one.
After falling behind 3-0, Grand Valley recovered and took a short-lived 5-3 lead by posting a five-spot in the fifth inning.
Danny Manzanares, Sam McKinley and Quick all had RBI base hits in the rally.
Quick hit a home run in the sixth, and extended the game to extra innings with a 7-7 tie in the seventh.
McPheron’s RBI single gave the Cardinals a temporary lead in the eighth before Paonia scored the winning run in its half of the inning.
The Eagles didn’t give the Cards a chance to repeat the drama in the nightcap.
Paonia grabbed a 6-0 lead in the second, scored five times in the fourth, then added six more runs in the fifth for an early end due to the mercy rule.
The Cardinals have a busy schedule this week. Along with nonleague road games against Rifle’s JV and Aspen on Tuesday and Thursday, Grand Valley also has a Saturday league doubleheader scheduled at Callihan Field in Parachute against DeBeque.
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.