Moffat County baseball wins league opener as players show slugging strength |

Moffat County baseball wins league opener as players show slugging strength

The transition from gym ball to grass and dirt is still a process that involves some growing pains for Moffat County baseball, but the Bulldogs have proved resilient and adaptive in their early games.

MoCo baseball won its first match against a 3A Western Slope League opponent with a 12-4 victory Saturday, April 1, over Cedaredge.

Originally planned as a home event, the game instead saw the Bruins with hosting duties.

“Luckily, change of venue doesn’t hurt us much,” said coach James Romansky. “We started with a three-and-a-half-hour trip, so everyone comes out a little flat. We didn’t get a lot of swings in before the game, so those first two innings were just warming up.”

Cedaredge crossed the plate first with a single run in the third inning, but the Dogs picked up three in the fourth and really rallied with five runs in the fifth.

Romansky said a midgame hit by junior Riley Thompson helped get things moving.

“He hit a double down the line to score two, which put us up, and then baseball momentum happens, we end up getting a lot more hits, and seeing the ball a little better once there’s a little more enthusiasm injected into our offense,” he said.

Thompson said despite practicing almost exclusively indoors, he could tell his teammates were prepared to come out strong.

“You can tell the difference when we go from playing in the gym to going to a real field,” he said. “You could really feel the energy with all the guys and everybody comes together a lot.”

Romansky noted that senior Easton Eckroth’s effort on the mound was a big difference-maker, with 13 strikeouts.

“He kept us really invested in the game, but more importantly he kept the other team down,” Romansky said. “They really struggled seeing the ball from his hand. Soft contact all around.”

Junior Zaylan Kirby also picked up 3 K’s closing the game.

Nearly everyone on the Bulldog roster got a hit against the Bruins, and everyone got on base at least once with junior Marek Marshall leading the day in RBIs with four. The squad also recorded 10 stolen bases against Cedaredge.

In his first year on the team, Caleb Squires connected during every at-bat Saturday, amassing two singles, a double, and a triple.

Though the MoCo junior has primarily played football — missing most of this fall with injuries — he’s found a niche as the team’s designated hitter.

“I haven’t played since 2019, so it’s been a little while,” Squires said. “I’m pretty happy with the outcome because of the two shoulder surgeries that I’ve had. Playing with the team and having fun, that’s the best thing about baseball. Football is more of a militaristic-type sport, everything’s set in stone, but baseball’s more of a fun family sport.”

The Dogs are 2-2 so far, with the W against the Bruins following two games a week earlier.

During a March 24 series in the Denver area, MoCo gained its first win over Highland, 9-7, accompanied by a 10-3 loss to Wellington.

“I’d like to continue that tradition of going over the mountains and seeing some of those teams,” Romansky said.

Bulldog baseball next travels this weekend to face Battle Mountain and will go to Hotchkiss April 11 for two games against North Fork, all of which will be tough.

“In baseball, memory’s gotta be short. Your failures and your successes, all that’s in the past,” Romansky said.

Ostensibly, the MoCo home opener will be an April 15 doubleheader with Aspen, dependent on field conditions.

Nearly all schools in the region are still experiencing winter holdover, but Romansky foresees getting the facility in shape soon.

“The community’s come together with the admin and myself and the kids, and we’re all working on getting that field in shape to play,” Romansky said. “It’s the whole Western Slope; Meeker’s feeling it, Rangely’s feeling it, Steamboat’s feeling it. Hopefully we can beat them to a playable field. I think the Moffat County community can get it done.”

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