Split with Glenwood sets up close finish for baseball
Glenwood Springs — The Moffat County baseball team couldn’t carry the momentum of an extra-inning win in the first game to sweep the Glenwood Springs Demons on Sat-ur-day.
“We could have controlled our playoff spot with a sweep,” Moffat coach Scott Parker said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to rely on others now.”
Game one was a back and forth contest. Moffat drew first blood with a solo tally in the first. The Demons knotted the game when base runner Cory McGrath scored as part of a double steal from third off of Moffat pitcher Bryan Richards.
The Bulldogs took a 4-1 lead in the fourth, which held through the sixth when Glenwood used doubles from Beau Chicoine and John Faris, along with Dave King’s RBI single, for a 4-4 tie. Jared Lowther came into relieve Richards during the sixth.
The game went into overtime tied 4-4.
An error by Glenwood’s Matt Miller in the eighth inning opened the door for Moffat County to take the lead for good. Billy Ivy led the inning with a triple. Kyle Sorensen followed with a walk, and Lowther knocked in Ivy with a single. Reid Hanneman then added insurance for the Bulldogs with a two-run single.
Bryan Wojtkiewicz came in to close out the eighth for Moffat, giving up one run but holding the Demons for a 7-5 win.
The Demons got just what they needed in the second game.
Faris gave Glenwood’s thin pitching staff a badly-needed shot in the arm when he threw a complete game in the 9-6 victory.
“We always say that we play our game no matter what,” said Faris. “We had a tough one (in the first game), and we did what we had to do and we won”the second game.
Faris frustrated the Bulldogs in the first three innings.
He faced one hitter over the minimum in a hitless span as Glenwood took a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs lost their starter, Wojtkiewicz, when he was hit in the leg by a batted ball in the first inning.
With Faris rolling, the Demon hitters put the game on mercy-rule alert by scoring five runs in the fourth off of three Bulldog errors.
“Jared (Lowther) and Billy (Ivy) came in and pitched OK,” Parker said. “But we didn’t give them a lot of help.”
Then the Bulldogs found a chink in the pitcher’s game.
Hanneman sparked a two-run rally on a bad-hop triple that eluded Demon outfielders Tim Cashel and Taylor Wilde in the fourth inning.
Glenwood responded by getting the runs back the next inning on a booming home run from Jeremy Christner plus an RBI single from Wilde.
In the bottom of the fifth, a Faris throwing error to first on a tapper back to the mound resulted in a four-run Bulldog outburst, highlighted by Brad Grinstead’s RBI triple.
But Faris regained his form.
“I got really angry and I started throwing the ball harder,” Faris said.
“My slider started working well after that, and I hit my spots a little better.”
Faris ended the inning with a strikeout. In the sixth and seventh, the Demon pitcher held the Bulldogs to one hit.
“The (second game) was the first game of the season we gave away,” Parker said. “We need to execute better down the stretch.”
The split sets up a potential tie for third place in the Western Slope League between the Demons and the ‘Dogs. Glenwood has a 7-4 record with one game against Rifle and a doubleheader against Palisade. Moffat is 6-5 with a game against Battle Mountain and a doubleheader against Eagle Valley remaining. Moffat needs to win its final three games and hope that the Demons lose two of their last three to move to third in the standings.
David Pressgrove of the Craig Daily Press contributed to this story.
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