Moffat County baseball crushes Cardinals in high-scoring game with Grand Valley
If Moffat County High School baseball learned anything from a harsh midweek defeat, it’s that positive energy pays off, and Bulldogs’ bench chatter certainly didn’t hurt when they returned back to their own turf.
MCHS beat the Grand Valley Cardinals 15-1 Thursday in its first home win of the season.
The Cards recorded only one hit, as a first inning double by Isaiah Tigert let teammate Austin White, on base from a wild pitch, cross the plate.
The Dogs came alive in the second inning, the bases loaded as Drake Doherty stepped up to bat, earning a two-bagger and his first two of the five runs batted in he’d have during the game.
Moffat County made it 4-1 in the third when an infield fly by Wyatt Johnson was dropped by Grand Valley second-baseman Garrett Blair, allowing Krece Papierski and Colby Beckett to make it home.
But, it was the fourth inning that was the defining stretch when all nine Bulldogs scored at least one run. Doherty, Josh Turner and Papierski each got walked, then driven home as Beckett blasted a shot to deep left field for the triple and three RBIs, Jefferson Piatt promptly smacking a line drive to center to send Beckett over the plate.
The bases were loaded once again as Johnson was walked and Hunter Smilanich and Greg Hixson both beaned, and all of them made a round trip as Doherty knocked another double to left field.
Not to be outdone, Papierski finished the scoring spree with a grounder to third base that turned into an in-the-park home run as he, Doherty and Connor Murphy all hustled home to capitalize on the Grand Valley error.
“We all came together, had a great game and hopefully we can keep carrying on,” Papierski said.
As the 10-run mercy rule loomed, the Cardinals still had the chance to keep the game from ending in the fifth inning, but Doherty, who pitched the entire game, was just hitting his stride on the mound.
It was three up, three down as Dylan Mueller struck out, Weston Hilgenfeld was thrown out at first and Doherty threw a change-up for his 78th and final pitch, Blair going down swinging for Doherty’s 11th strikeout.
“It was all about finishing strong,” Doherty said.
The shortened game was a 180 from the Bulldogs’ Wednesday outing against Paonia at Grand Junction. The Eagles, ranked seventh in RPI among 2A teams, took a 17-2 win over Moffat County.
Despite recording 10 hits and holding a 1-0 lead for the first three innings — Piatt earning three strikeouts in four and two-third innings — the Dogs struggled to slow Paonia’s power from there, trailing 10-1 after six innings before seven more Eagle runs in the seventh.
The same thing that hurt the boys in blue Wednesday became their advantage the following day, said MCHS head coach Brian Jennings.
“It’s great to be on the right side of a crooked inning,” Jennings said Thursday. “They did everything right today.”
Jennings added that players kept their energy up on the diamond and on the bench, and the results showed. MCHS is 4-4-1 on the season, with a 2-1-1 tally in the 3A Western Slope League rankings.
After multiple changes in the date, Bulldogs will host Delta Monday, and though the Panthers lead the conference at 5-0, all the team needs to do is tap into the same spirit that carried them for their big win.
“We’ve got a lot of good hitters, good hitters, and as long as we put it all together, we can beat them,” Jennings said.
It was one of the longest days Moffat County High School volleyball players have experienced this season, but by the end of Saturday, the effort was worth it all.