Nearly every time I’ve been able to watch the Moffat County baseball team during the past couple seasons, the script has played out in similar fashion. The Bulldogs look great for one game and win handily and look rough in the other game, usually losing badly.
That was the way it went Thursday in Craig, when Moffat County hosted Grand Valley for a couple games, though it played out in the opposite order I’m used to.
Typically, Moffat County has come out and played well, then not looked like the same team in Game 2. But Thursday, the Bulldogs played two good innings of defense before they lost control of Game 1. The pitching got wild, their communication fell apart and it took the air out of the team.
They played the rest of the game without much energy and lost, 17-3.
Normally, I’ve watched an impressive win and then scratched my head about the way Moffat County hasn’t been able to follow it up. But Thursday, with the way they started, it made the Bulldogs’ turnaround that much more impressive.
In Game 2, every player was shouting and cheering from the dugout, the Bulldogs were aggressive on the base paths and swinging freely at the plate. The result? Three runs in the first inning and nine more in the second on the way to a quick, five-inning win.
In a game the team could not afford to lose, it stepped up and played well.
That shows a lot of maturity for a young team to recover the way it did, but what I liked even more about Thursday’s performance was the team’s self-awareness about it.
Speaking with senior Colton Yoast after the game, he called it the “Moffat County story” and admitted the team has to work on correcting it.
Coach Justin Folley said he gave his team a bit of an earful between games and challenged them to come back. Then they fell behind by two runs in the top of the first inning, and it didn’t bother them.
Hugh Turner, Brett Loyd and Yoast started it off with hits and got the Bulldogs going. Others on the team continued the momentum in a stunning offensive turnaround. Moffat County is relying on freshmen and sophomores as a significant part of its lineup, which is a risky proposition under any circumstances. But even coming off their worst offensive game of the season, the young Bulldogs looked excellent when they needed to.
At 4-4, Moffat County still is in the thick of the playoff race. If Thursday’s growth between games continues, the team may be ready to make some noise.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .