Trio of Bears earn 4A Western Slope League first-team baseball honors
Despite falling to Air Academy in the first round of the 4A state playoffs a few weeks ago, good news came quickly for the Rifle Bears’ baseball team as a trio of senior standouts earned First Team 4A Western Slope League All-Conference honors, as voted on by the league coaches last week.
Senior pitcher/centerfielder Takoda Chaney, senior catcher/pitcher Gabe Marbas and senior first baseman Bryer Rew earned first-team honors for the Bears, finishing with the third-most members on the first team in the league, behind Palisade (5) and Summit (4).
Chaney, who signed with Augustana prior to the start of the season to play baseball, finished with a .426 batting average, recording six doubles, three triples and 15 runs batted in while pitching 56.2 innings, finishing with an earned run average of 2.59 to go along with 81 strikeouts, 30 walks and a 3-3 record on the year.
Marbas was a rock behind the plate all year for the Bears and really emerged as a solid No. 2 starter behind Chaney. The senior finished the year with a .485 batting average, five doubles, two triples and 16 runs batted in, while going 3-1 on the mound with a 3.00 ERA, 17 strikeouts and five walks in 25.2 innings of work.
Rew served as the big bat in the Rifle lineup and locked down first base defensively. The senior turned in a great season, hitting .390 with five doubles, three triples and one home run, adding 20 runs batted in on the year.
Joining the Rifle trio on the first team was Glenwood sophomore shortstop/pitcher Sebastian “Chano” Gonzales and junior second baseman Tyler Boyd.
Gonzales was a true table-setter for the Demons at the top of the lineup, finishing with a .435 average with eight doubles, two triples, one home run and 17 runs batted in on the year. On the mound, Gonzales went 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 17 innings of work, striking out 23 and walking 14.
Boyd hit in the 2-hole for much of the year and finished with a .333 average, recording two doubles and three triples in 72 at-bats.
On the honorable mention team, Rifle saw freshman shortstop/second baseman Derek Wagler and senior shortstop/pitcher Drake Montgomery named to the list, while Glenwood senior first baseman/pitcher Brandon Benzel earned honorable mention for the Demons.
Player of the Year went to Eagle Valley senior Garrett Martin, while Coach of the Year went to Palisade’s Aaron Howard, who resigned from the job Thursday to spend more time with his family.
Summit senior Andrew Shaw and Palisade senior John Taber earned Co-Pitcher of the Year honors.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.