Craig Entering Saturday’s doubleheader with Moffat County, the Coal Ridge baseball team had scored 42 runs on the season en route to a 1-11 record.
In one game in Craig, the Titans scored more than half that runs total and doubled their win total.
In the first of two games at the Craig Middle School baseball fields, the visiting Titans won in wild fashion, 23-18. In the second game, Moffat County recovered and dominated, 13-2.
MCHS head coach Justin Folley said “a little bit of everything” bit the Bulldogs in game one. They started off allowing several walks but recovered on the offensive side and took a 9-2 lead after one inning. It would get much uglier for Moffat County from that point on.
Whether it was more walks or sloppy defense, the Bulldogs struggled throughout the middle innings. And when the errors came, the Titans took advantage. First basemen Hunter Hasenberg cracked two home runs to help build a lead.
The Moffat County bats were capitalizing as well in the game, but not with the same frequency. After closing the gap to 20-17 at the end of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs’ offense slowed down and couldn’t complete the comeback.
“People love watching those types of games,” Folley said, though he acknolwedged not enjoying it much. “Both teams were capitalizing on mistakes and making plays with the bat. So that’s fun. But I think that might have been the longest game of my life.”
After the break between games, the Bulldogs were a different team. They made three defensive plays to retire the first three Titans batters and stood tall throughout the game, while Wyatt Oberwitte was strong on the mound.
At the plate, Kolton Wickham gave Moffat County a 1-0 lead by singling to score Bubba Ivers in the first inning. Ivers would later bring Trevor Kroese home in the third inning, and the Bulldogs would tack on two more runs to take 4-0 lead.
In a lengthy fourth inning, the Titans shuffled through three pitchers as the Bulldogs recorded five hits, drew walks and scored nine runs to make it 13-0. A half-inning later, they won by the mercy rule.
Senior Jake Bingham couldn’t explain the difference in the two games.
“I don’t know if the sun was hurting us,” Bingham said. “Our outfielders missed some plays, we had misreads and just were making mistakes. I don’t know what it was that had us playing so much better in the second game. It feels good to win one, but we should’ve taken both.”
The Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of Moffat County’s games Saturday was representative of their season (6-7, 6-6 Western Slope League) so far, Folley said.
“That seems to be our story all year long, is the consistency between the two games,” he said. “And I think you see that reflected in our record. We are splitting everything. One day it’s pitching that get us, one day it’s defense. We’ve got to figure that out.”
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 firstname.lastname@example.org