Craig Baseball made its season debut in Craig on Wednesday, and the result was two close games and a doubleheader split between Moffat County and Cedaredge high schools.
And while the Bulldogs lost a late lead in the second game, there were plenty of positives to take away from their first baseball in nearly three weeks. The Bulldogs are now 5-6 overall this season and 5-5 in the Western Slope League.
In the first game of the doubleheader Wednesday, pitching ruled early, with no runs through four innings. The game got much messier in the fifth, when pitcher Bubba Ivers recorded a strikeout to end the inning but the pitch bounced after the missed swing and the throw to first was wide. The Bruins took advantage of the error from there, scoring four runs with two outs to take a 4-0 lead.
Moffat County responded in the bottom of the inning, with Jake Bingham and Kolton Wickham leading off with singles. With walks, a wild pitch and a hit later, it was a tie game heading to the sixth inning.
Cedaredge scored again on a series of infield hits in the sixth and took a one-run lead into the final inning. In the seventh, Ivers led off and got on base, and Colten Yoast ripped a double to right-centerfield to score Ivers from first base and tie the game.
“I’m looking out and seeing my man on first base and thinking one thing,” Yoast said about the situation. “I need to go oppo (to the opposite field). That’s what I was able to do and it got us a big run.”
Later in the inning, Jake Bingham grounded out to first base with the bases loaded, and while the Bruins were trying to turn a double play and end the inning, Gabe Maldonado rounded third and scored to give the Bulldogs a walk-off 7-6 win.
In the second game, pitcher Wyatt Oberwitte struggled with control in the early innings. Combined with defensive mistakes, the Bulldogs were behind 6-1 after two innings. But the Bulldogs battled back in the middle innings with quality at-bats.
In the third, they scored four runs on singles from Ivers and Yoast. In the fourth, they added two more to take a 7-6 lead. Trevor Kroese made it 8-6 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
The Bruins would come back with two runs in the top of the seventh inning and one more in the eighth. The Bulldogs threatened late but were unable to close the gap, eventually losing 9-8.
It was a tough loss for Moffat County, but coach Justin Folley saw some things from the Bulldogs he has been looking for all season.
“These kids did not give up today, either game,” he said. “They did a good job. That’s the first time all year, that being down 6-0 to start, we didn’t quit. And the little things piled up, next thing you know it’s a tie game.”
Moffat County also got strong innings from Sheldon Greenwood in relief. He pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh in the first game, before delivering five innings in the second game.
“I can’t say enough about him today,” Folley said. “He took the loss for us in that second game, but he did his job and picked us up when we needed him.”
Yoast also saw positives from his team.
“We had some good at-bats and came back from being down,” he said. “That’s something we’ve had trouble with this season. We played some good defense late in the game even though it was cold out and our hands were brittle. I think there’s a lot of good things from both games.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com