Five runs typically are on the board in a high school baseball game before the fans get comfortable in their seats. That wasn't the case in the sleeper between Moffat County and Steamboat Springs on Tuesday.
"There wasn't the emotion on either side that you usually see in a game here between two rivals," Steamboat coach Sean Hicks said. "Usually (Moffat County) makes this a big game and that just wasn't the case today."
If lots of hits and runs make a game more exciting, this game should have come with complimentary pillows. There were eight hits and five runs scored. The Sailors left Craig Middle School field with a 4-1 win -- the first win against their rivals in three years.
"We basically made them make the mistakes," Hicks said. "It wasn't our best performance at the plate, but we didn't make any costly errors."
Bulldog errors were involved in three of the four runs scored by the Sailors. The Blue and White also made mistakes at the plate with a failed squeeze play to get a runner home in the second and three consecutive strikeouts after a lead-off double in the third inning.
"We've been hitting the ball well enough that stranding a few runners or making a couple of mistakes shouldn't make the difference," Moffat County coach Scott Parker said. "But when you only score one run, you aren't going to beat anybody."
The Sailors took the early lead with a run in each of the first two innings. In the first, Tyler Fosdick scored on a Sean Murphy single. The next time up, Ben Montoya reached with a base on balls, advanced to second on hit by Nick Hughes and scored on a passed ball.
The Bulldogs scored to make it 2-1 in the bottom of the second when Barrett Durham crossed home after a double by Reid Hanneman.
The ineffectiveness of the Moffat County offense, which had scored an average of 12 runs per game in the past five contests, started at the top of the order where the first three batters, Jared Lowther, Jason Mosher and Nick Goodenow, went 0-for-9.
Pitcher Bryan Wojtkiewicz kept the Bulldogs in the game striking out nine batters in six innings. His one bad pitch resulted in a home run off the bat of Teal Taylor in the sixth -- a two-run shot scoring Murphy.
"Their pitcher threw a good game," Hicks said. "We have been hitting .367 as a team, and he kept us quiet for most of the game."
Hicks' pitcher didn't do too bad, either. Murphy pitched a complete game for the Sailors, striking out six and walking none.
"Sean is one of our horses, and I expect him to go seven every time out," Hicks said. "He did his job tonight."
Murphy also reached base in all three at bats with two singles, and he reached on an error.
The Sailors set the goal of getting to the postseason this year, and early wins against Moffat and Glenwood Springs are a good start. But Hicks said he expects to see a different Moffat County team the second time around April 13.
"We need to be ready for a fired up team next time," he said. "Tonight it seemed like any other game and that usually doesn't happen when we play Moffat County."
Parker was frustrated that his team couldn't carry momentum from the field to the plate in the first Western Slope League contest.
"Our strength is our speed and aggressiveness on the base paths," he said. "We made good plays in the field but couldn't get runners on base."
The Sailors improved to 5-3 and 2-1 in league play while the Bulldogs dropped to 3-4 and 0-1.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org