Craig Before the season began, Moffat County baseball coach Justin Folley said as the team’s defense goes, so will the team’s record go this year. Saturday’s games against Olathe seemed to indicate he’s right on the money.
The Bulldogs split a doubleheader with the Pirates in Craig, playing excellent defense for a 13-3 win before the defense suffered late in the second game as Moffat County fell, 14-4.
The cold afternoon didn’t start well for Moffat County, as an error on a double-play ball allowed Olathe to take a quick 2-0 lead that extended to 3-0 before the Bulldogs had come to bat. But that ended up being the only error of the game, as Moffat County picked up three quick outs to start the second and then got some offense going.
Pirates pitcher Trenton Jole lost some of his control and walked the first three batters he faced, then issued a wild pitch to make it 3-1. Moffat County maintained its patience at the plate and picked up hits, walks and sacrifices to keep the runs coming in, putting together a seven-run second.
“Offensively, we did a good job of putting it in play, and a lot of them were dropping in" for hits, Folley said.
After another quick third inning, Moffat County came out hot with the bats again. After mostly singles and walks, Tyler Jenkins slapped a two-run double to center field to make it 12-3. He later would come home for a 13-3 score.
In the fourth inning, Sheldon Greenwood struck out the side and the Bulldogs put together a good defensive fifth to close out the game.
“The defense the first game, they played great,” Folley said. “They went out and really won a game. Sheldon, I can’t acknowledge enough what he did on the mound for us, but the guys made plays behind him, too.”
In the second game of the day, Moffat County again fell behind but scored in the first and third to make it 2-2. The score remained the same until Olathe began to pick up on Spencer Turner’s pitches in the fifth.
The Pirates put together a few hits and took advantage of Moffat County errors to build a 6-2 lead with one out. But they were caught batting out of order and not given an out, as is the rule. On the next batter, Moffat County earned its second out, which should’ve been the third, but the Pirates kept hitting and strung together eight more runs to get a 14-2 lead.
“I can’t blame a loss on the umpires, and I never will,” Folley said. “But that was an eight-run swing right there.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Jenkins got a high bounce on a ground ball into the outfield and plated two more runners to make it 14-4, but Olathe got a game-ending double play on the next batter.
Despite the batting order incident, Moffat County acknowledged it hurt itself more than the umpires.
“We didn’t play our best" in the second game, Jenkins said. “Once they started scoring, we got back on our heels and made some mental mistakes. We can make those plays, but we’ve got to keep our heads in it.”
Moffat County is now 3-1 in the early season with games at Grand Valley next Saturday.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.