MCHS baseball team ready for playoff push |

MCHS baseball team ready for playoff push

Joshua Gordon

Wyatt Oberwitte, left, rounds first base April 16 against Delta High School at Craig Middle School. The Moffat County High School varsity baseball team will make a final push for the playoffs with three Western Slope League doubleheaders in the next two weeks.

The Moffat County High School varsity baseball team doesn't want a repeat of last season.

With four games left in 2010 — two against Glenwood Springs and two against Delta — the Bulldogs needed one win to make the playoffs.

MCHS lost both doubleheaders and Rifle took the fourth Western Slope League spot in the playoffs after a tiebreaker.

This season, the WSL will receive only three playoff bids.

The Bulldogs currently sit in the third spot in the rankings, with a record of 4-6 overall and 4-2 in the league. The team has three doubleheaders left against WSL foes.

"We are in a great position right now to respond to what happened last year," MCHS coach Justin Folley said. "We don't have the greatest non-conference schedule, but if we can play strong in our last three league match-ups, I think we can make it."

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The Bulldogs are 0-4 in non-conference play, but Folley said he believes the non-conference record will only play into seeding should his team make the playoffs.

MCHS will play a doubleheader against Palisade today in Grand Junction to make up rained-out games from Saturday.

The team will host two games against Steamboat Springs at Craig Middle School on May 3 and will close the season in a doubleheader May 7 in Glenwood Springs.

"Palisade is the number two team in the league, and if we can at least split the series with them, we will be sitting good," Folley said. "Steamboat's big player is out, but it is a rivalry game and those can go either way."

Folley said Glenwood Springs currently sits last in the league standings, but the Demons were in a similar position when they swept his team last season.

"It is a tough league and anyone could really get in," he said. "We have some players who are returning from last year who have extra fight in them to make it to the playoffs this year."

If the Bulldogs hope to make it to the postseason, Folley said the team would have to continue to play as a unit.

Hayden senior Ben Williams has been the star at the plate and on the mound for the Bulldogs this season.

Williams has 23 RBIs and six home runs this season, with a batting average of .636.

As a pitcher, he has two of the Bulldogs four wins and has struck out 32 batters on his way to a 4.75 ERA.

"Ben is definitely a catalyst for this team," Folley said. "About this time last season, he went down with an injury and missed the last six games. If he stays healthy, it is a big benefit to have him."

Folley said another difference maker for the Bulldogs doesn't come from the plate, on the pitching mound or in the field — it comes from assistant coach Matt Ray.

Ray, who is also the MCHS girls varsity basketball coach, is in his first year as assistant coach for the baseball team.

"Matt has done a great job and really helped on the pitching staff and in the outfield," Folley said. "He has coaching experience and experience working with high school kids, so he was a good guy to have come in and help us this season."

However, Folley said the primary strength his team has had this season stems from playing as a unit, as seen in the rotation of players to different positions.

Junior Carlos Maldonado hurt his back early in the season and moved to third base, a position he had never played.

Senior Dylon Camilletti and sophomore Bubba Ivers stepped up to fill the void at catcher, Folley said.

"Dylon has moved back and forth from shortstop to catcher, and Bubba stepped into a catcher position he had never done before and had some good games there," he said. "Ben has had to move from pitcher to outfield to shortstop, and we've had Doolin struggle as a pitcher, but we've come together as a team.

"It's going to take a team effort to make it to the playoffs."

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Top performers

Top individual hitters for the Moffat County High School varsity baseball team:

(Name — RBIs — HRs — Average)

• Ben Williams — 23 — 6 — .636

• Bubba Ivers — 12 — 3 — .556

• Graig Medvesk — 7 — 0 — .444

• Kulen Turner — 6 — 1 — .241

• Dylon Camilletti — 1 — 0 — .432

Top individual pitchers for the MCHS varsity baseball team:

(Name — wins — ERA — strikeouts)

• Ben Williams — 2 — 4.75 — 32

• Bubba Ivers — 2 — 7.97 — 9

• Mark Doolin — 0 — 6.83 — 14

• Ivan Nielson — 0 — 5.25 — 7

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