Rifle, Fazzi shuts out Moffat County
RIFLE ” An uncharacteristic 2-4 early-season win-loss record had Rifle’s baseball’s team concerned about its pitching and defense. After Tuesday’s 8-0 win over Moffat County, it appears the Bears have found the solution to both problems.
Shane Fazzi limited the visiting Bulldogs to three scattered singles in the shutout victory with six strikeouts.
The Bears (5-4 overall, 2-2 Western Slope League) played errorless ball for six innings. The one error the did commit ” in the seventh, was promptly rubbed out when Fazzi retired Moffat County’s last two batters on strikeouts.
The win was Rifle’s fourth straight in as many games.
While coach Troy Phillips is pleased with the team’s recent improvement, he said the team’s goal is “to just get better each game, improve in practice and the wins will take care of themselves.”
Rifle’s patience in the early stages paid off as the game unfolded.
The Bears took advantage of Moffat County pitcher Jerrod Lowther’s wild pitch to break a scoreless tie in the third inning.
Rifle outfielder Tyson Thompson, who led off the third with a single, scored the game’s first run.
Fittingly the Bears’ 1-0 lead was aided by Moffat County.
Thompson advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout, then scored on Lowther’s wild pitch to the backstop.
The miscue was a preview of a total unraveling by the Bulldogs in the next inning.
Lowther was rocked by Rifle for seven hits ” all singles ” and sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run onslaught, aided by three Moffat County errors.
A held cutoff throw from the outfield by Moffat County second baseman Brian Beheman scored Rifle’s first run of the inning. A high hop on left fielder Nick Goodnow’s throw to plate allowed Kip Jessup to score.
RBI basehits from Thompson and Nick Krick, combined with two more Bulldog errors, upped Rifle’s lead to 7-0.
Rifle added its eighth run on Uriel Quezada’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.
Meanwhile, Fazzi kept mowing down Moffat County’s batters.
The right-hander worked himself out of two potential jams with a runner in scoring position in the third and fourth innings. Fazzi kept his shutout going by striking out two in the fifth and inducing an inning-ending double play in the sixth. He finished the game with two more strikeouts.
“(Fazzi’s) curveball was breaking pretty hard. I think that was one of his most effective pitches today,” Phillips said.
“It had a lot of guys swinging well in front of the plate. Any time you get guys swinging at curveballs that far in front of the plate, it’s breaking pretty sharply,” he said.
The Bears continue WSL play with a scheduled doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday in Eagle-Vail against Battle Mountain.
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