Titans top Cowboys for first win
The Coal Ridge Titans used some timely hitting and a stellar pitching outing from Jared Lund, who went 6.2 innings, to capture their first victory of the season, as they toppled the Meeker Cowboys 11-7 on Wednesday afternoon at Coal Ridge High School.
The Titans, coming off a heartbreaking 10-inning Western Slope League loss on Tuesday night to Moffat County in Craig, started the game off in sluggish fashion as Meeker mounted early leads of 3-0 and 5-1 to put the home team in a deep hole as things didn’t get off to the start Coal Ridge had hoped for.
“We had a tough one up in Craig last night and the kids didn’t get home until after midnight,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Dan Larsen said. “We made three or four errors in that first inning, but [Jared] Lund hung in there. I don’t know if they even got an earned run off of him in the early innings. He did a nice job for us today.”
Despite the early deficits, the Titans weren’t about to throw in the towel as senior Ty Huck hit a triple to score fellow senior Jackson Sargent, which knotted the game at 5-all in the bottom of the third inning.
When another senior, Michael Harmon, hit a single to score Huck, Coal Ridge had taken a 6-5 lead. They would never trail after that.
The Titans would do more damage against Cowboys pitcher Garrett Frantz in the bottom half of the fourth.
Sean Mooney singled and stole second base. It was now Jake Whitaker’s turn, as he delivered an RBI single up the middle to score Mooney.
Tyler Slone grounded out for Coal Ridge, but Whitaker ended up advancing on the bases and scoring on a passed ball, giving the Titans an 8-5 cushion.
Lund retired all the Meeker batters in order for a fifth inning show of force on the mound. Jared Whitaker would add another tally for Coal Ridge after a single and a series of walks to make the score 9-5, as the Titans began to close in on that elusive first victory of the year.
The Cowboys made things interesting in their portion of the sixth inning as they brought two runs across the plate on hits by Cooper Meszares, Trapper Merrifield and Doak Mantle.
With two outs in the inning, Slone came to the mound in relief of Lund and retired the side to close the door on the Meeker comeback attempt.
The Titans finished things off with a highlight-reel bottom of the sixth as Sargent hit a long double off the left-center field fence, bringing Harmon to the plate with a 9-7 lead in hand.
Harmon, to the delight of the gathered crowd on a beautiful April afternoon, touched all three bases and slid safely into home after his deep shot to center field produced an inside-the-park home run and capped off the 11-7 win for Coal Ridge.
“It’s nice to get the win,” Larsen said following the game. “We’ve played a difficult schedule to this point and we have struggled a bit. This is a young team. We start four freshmen, but they are starting to come along.”
Coal Ridge (1-7 overall, 0-2 WSL) will have a few days off before resuming Western Slope League play when they will make the trip to Gunnison for an 11 a.m. contest Saturday.
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Coal Ridge 69, Grand Junction Central 23