Moffat County baseball bests Grand Valley in rainy day rout
Bulldogs seek doubleheader domination in Basalt Saturday
There were no injuries on the ball field Tuesday afternoon, but Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School and their Parachute opponents were playing through the rain rather than playing through the pain. and their Parachute opponents were playing through the rain rather than playing through the pain.
Moffat County High School and their Parachute opponents were playing through the rain rather than playing through the pain.
MCHS varsity baseball claimed a 9-6 win against Grand Valley in a game that was considerably back and forth but even more wet and wild.
The Cardinals’ John Parker and Luke Bowen each batted in a run in the first inning to give Grand Valley the quick lead, but Bulldog starting pitcher Mike Bingham responded by striking out the next three batters in a row as part of eight shutdowns he’d have during the day.
MCHS wasn’t able to take it all the way right away, but after a three-up, three-down second inning on defense, Spencer Turner was the first to score, tagging up after a sacrifice fly by Trevor Kuhn to center field gave him plenty of time to get to home plate.
The Cards had trouble maintaining momentum as Bingham gained two more strikeouts in the third inning, sandwiching an infield fly by Parker fielded by Hunter Roberts.
A slight drizzle picked up and became a harder rainfall, but for the Dogs, moisture must have been good luck, Adain Wilmot tying things up following a would-be single by Brett Loyd, Roberts quickly putting his team in the lead, 3-2, shortly after by stealing home on a catcher error.
The fourth inning started out well for Bingham, striking out two more of the Cardinals, but a single and two stolen bases by Damien Vigil ultimately gave Grand Valley an unexpected run when the pitcher was charged with a balk, and a double by Jarod Radel gave the Cards the 4-3 advantage.
The horsehide continued to get slicker and trickier to throw right, Bingham said.
“It was like oil out there,” he laughed after the game. “It just slips off the side of your hand, so I had to move my finger down, keep it a little more intact.”
Coaches and officials continually had to towel off baseballs and cycle through their supply, since the rain wasn’t stopping.
Spencer and Josh Turner each earned a single in the fourth inning and were able to make it all the way home one after another, after a line drive by Connor Knez was caught in the outfield, Bulldogs back in front, 5-4, to end the fourth.
Bingham faced his biggest test in the fifth inning, two outs suddenly turning into a high-pressure situation as Brandon Millus took a walk and Marco Rojas and Leoray Hernandez each singled to load the bases and put Vigil up at bat again.
And, though he took it to a full count, the Bulldog pitcher finished with one last strikeout to ease the tension.
Freight train base running by Loyd kept the Dogs going in the fifth, while a double by Colby Beckett barely missed going over the fence, still earning him an RBI at 6-4 as Grand Valley switched out Hyland Barabee for Vigil on the mound.
Loyd took over for the boys in blue to start the sixth, setting the tone with a strikeout and then two quick outs at first base as the new pitcher and substitute shortstop Santiago Aragon made quick work of their opponents.
A first base collision involving Kuhn sent in pinch runner Wyatt Nielsen, who would eventually steal the next three bases, as did Wilmot following a single, while Roberts was able to take advantage of a miscommunication between Grand Valley players that turned from a walk to him standing on third base, stealing home on a catcher error to make it 9-4.
The Cardinals looked to rally in the final inning, Parker earning a walk and scoring, the RBI going to Millius, while Bowen, on base from a double, hustled home after a wild pitch left the plate open for him.
Still, it wasn’t quite enough for the Cards, who move to 1-7 overall and 0-7 in the 3A Western Slope League, next playing Thursday in Meeker.
“It was a good game, tight game, we just blew it in the sixth inning, too many mental errors and couldn’t rebound,” said Cardinal coach Doyle Radel.
Though the rain was a factor in both the slickness of the ball and the condition of the base paths, any such circumstances are part of the game, he added.
“All in all, we played great, they played great, we just came out on the short end,” Radel said.
Barabee threw 59 pitches for Grand Valley and Vigil 52, each with three strikeouts.
Bingham had 104 pitches and Loyd 31.
MCHS improves to 3-6, 2-4 with the win, an indicator that the weather notwithstanding the season is going the way it needs to go, said Bulldog coach Justin Folley.
“That’s two in a row for us, so now we just need to see if we can keep it going Saturday,” he said. “We’ve got a pretty good rhythm going now, the guys are up and chipper, the dugout’s getting louder and louder each week, which means they’re having more fun.”
Moffat County JV plays at home with Rangely Thursday, while varsity travels this weekend for a doubleheader with Basalt.
“It’s been kind of a different league this year, some teams are competing more, and it’ll be two tough games, but we’re hopefully going to come out with two wins.”
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.
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