Ivan Nielsen, a Moffat County High School senior, rounds third base Tuesday against Union High School at Craig Middle School. Nielsen went 3-for-4 at the plate Tuesday with one RBI to help lead the MCHS varsity baseball team to a 4-3 victory over the Cougars.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Ivan Nielsen, a Moffat County High School senior, rounds third base Tuesday against Union High School at Craig Middle School. Nielsen went 3-for-4 at the plate Tuesday with one RBI to help lead the MCHS varsity baseball team to a 4-3 victory over the Cougars.

MCHS baseball team notches 4-3 victory on walk-off error in home opener

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MCHS baseball v. Union High School

The Moffat County High School varsity baseball team scored on a pitching error in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday against Union High School at Craig Middle School to nab a 4-3 victory in the Bulldogs’ home opener.

The Moffat County High School varsity baseball team scored on a pitching error in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday against Union High School at Craig Middle School to nab a 4-3 victory in the Bulldogs’ home opener.

Results ...

Score from the MCHS varsity baseball team’s game Tuesday against Union High School at Craig Middle School:

• Moffat County — 4

• Union — 3

MCHS batting statistics:

(Name — hits — RBI)

• Ivan Nielsen — 3 — 1

• Carlos Maldonado — 1 — 1

• Jacob Teeter — 1 — 0

All the pieces were in place for Ivan Nielsen to lead the Moffat County High School varsity baseball team to victory Tuesday at Craig Middle School.

In the Bulldogs’ home opener against Union High School, neither team had scored in four innings and the game was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh.

Nielsen, an MCHS senior, stepped up to the plate to lead off for the Bulldogs.

“I wanted to sit and wait until he gave me something I liked,” Nielsen said. “I knew I wanted to get it in a gap and try to get a double so we could get a runner in scoring position.”

Nielsen got the pitch he wanted — a ball in the middle and to the inside — and blasted it toward the left-field fence, making it to second before the ball made it back into the infield.

Union walked the next two batters to load the bases and an error by the Cougars’ pitcher brought Nielsen’s designated runner, sophomore Brayden Peterson, in for the game-winning run and gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 victory.

“It feels good to be able to work as a team for a victory,” Nielsen said. “On defense, when the ball was in play we got them out, and at the plate we had some nice hits.”

Union started the game with a pair of shots into centerfield to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

But, the Bulldogs (3-3 overall, 1-1 Western Slope League) answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, including an RBI double from Nielsen.

MCHS tied the game in the bottom of the second with another RBI double from senior Carlos Maldonado.

“To be able to keep (Union) at three runs, especially after they scored them in the first inning, it was a big step forward for our defense,” MCHS coach Justin Folley said. “We shut them out the rest of the game with strong pitching and we just had some individuals make adjustments that helped us eliminate physical mistakes on the field.

“We did some good things and we have to build off them.”

Sophomore Sheldon Greenwood started on the mound for the Bulldogs on Tuesday for the first time this season.

After a shaky start, Greenwood threw three scoreless innings before being relieved by junior Bubba Ivers.

“Sheldon is our three or four guy, so for his first start, he did what he was supposed to and threw strikes when we needed it,” Folley said. “He did a good job and he had guys behind him making plays, which is always nice to see.”

Both teams had their chances to break the tie in the sixth, but both squads stranded runners on base.

Folley said the Bulldogs have work to do offensively, but his team has made improvements early in the season.

“We need to work on two-strike opportunities and just getting the ball in play, but we had some batters step up (Tuesday),” he said. “Ivan, Carlos and (Jacob) Teeter all had big doubles for us and, like every team, we just need to make adjustments at the plate.”

MCHS and Union play the second game of their season doubleheader at 3 p.m. Thursday at Union.

Nielsen said having the games on different days would work out in the Bulldogs’ favor.

“I think they will come at us with the same ace they did (Tuesday), so we will be able to sit on pitches more,” he said. “We will be able to get more hits and drive the ball better, so hopefully we can get another win.”

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