Bad-news Bears in town Saturday

Scott Parker hasn't defeated Rifle in his three years as Moffat County baseball coach.

Jared Lowther hasn't defeated Rifle in his four years as a Moffat County player.

The last time the Bulldogs won a regular-season game against the Bears was 2002.

"Rifle doesn't beat themselves," Parker said. "They do the little things well, and they hit the ball and force you to make the mistakes."

"(Rifle) has hit better than us when we've played them," Low-ther said.

Lowther and Parker did pick up a win last summer in Legion ball against the Bears.

During that game in June, Low-ther pitched a complete game, giving up three runs, and Reid Hanneman hit a grand slam for the Bulldogs' only offense in a 4-3 win.

Both coach and captain said their team is going to need a similar effort in the doubleheader against Rifle in Craig on Saturday.

" Our defense will need to carry us," Lowther said.

The doubleheader may be the biggest in three years for a Parker-coached team. A sweep would put the 'Dogs in contention for a Western Slope League championship. Anything less, and they'll be in a contest for the top three.

"This is a big series for both teams," Parker said. "Each of us need it for league standings."

The Bears are in second behind 10-1 Delta with a 4-1 record in the Western Slope League. Moffat is right behind them with a 4-2 mark. The Bears and Bulldogs have more than half of their WSL games remaining, but this weekend could be the deciding factor.

"It's us, Rifle and Delta at the top," Lowther said. "We need the wins to be at the top."

Delta defeated Rifle, 12-3, in the teams' first meeting, and they'll play again on Tuesday. Delta will have to lose to Rifle and another team for the Bulldogs to take the league.

The Panthers swept Moffat, 4-3 and 13-2, in March.

"With Delta losing to Eagle Valley, anything's possible," Par-ker said. "We all still have a chance to win the league."

Four teams from the WSL will qualify for districts this year.

The doubleheader begins at the Craig Middle School field at 11 a.m.

"We've been on the road a lot," Parker said. "I'm glad we get it at home."

Last year, Moffat and Rifle went into extra innings with the game tied at nine in Craig.

The Bears blasted the Bulldogs for 18 runs in the eighth inning to embarrass the home team, 27-10. During the meeting in Rifle, the Bears shut out the Boys in blue, 8-0.

"Year in and year out, Rifle might not have the kids who have the big numbers, but they get it done," Parker said.

Rifle has been getting it done lately. Since the loss to Delta, the Bears have rattled off seven straight wins. They have outscored their opponents 98-14 this season.

There will be no special plan to try to cool off the hot-streak Bears.

"It will be the same approach," Lowther said. "Defense first, then get the bats going."

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