Moffat County baseball sees tough slate, tougher play to round out season
With six games in seven days scheduled, nobody said the final week of play for Moffat County baseball would be easy. But Bulldogs didn’t end it without a fight.
The MoCo squad finished its season this week with an overall record of 8-14 following their last game Monday on the road against Middle Park, which the Panthers took 11-6.
Heading into the weekend, the Dogs had a rough stretch that they knew would be their most trying time of the spring.
Coach James Romansky said it was inevitable that there would be a close succession of games near the end of the schedule.
“It’s a limited amount of time between when the snow falls and when fields are playable to the last day of the season, so we’ve gotta fit them in somewhere,” Romansky said. “We kind of got hammered there, but a lot of teams have that too.”
Following the final home games on May 9, which MoCo players lost 8-4 and 10-2 against rival Steamboat Springs, they were back at it two days later with a road tilt in Rangely that ended up being almost as long as a two-game series. The game went 10 innings before Rangely closed it out 11-10.
The next day featured a doubleheader against Gunnison, held at a neutral field in Delta.
After falling to the Cowboys 14-7 in the first game, a bright spot in the second round was a home run by junior Zaylan Kirby in the fifth inning, evening the score 7-7.
Romansky added that the size of Delta’s field made Kirby’s first high school homer even more impressive.
“That really gave us a chance there,” he said. “It’s not a short porch; he probably hit the ball 320 feet and really struck it well.”
However, Gunnison rallied from there, finishing the game with 10 runs and a 17-7 mercy rule.
The sweep helped put the Cowboys in the 3A state playoffs alongside fellow Western Slope teams Coal Ridge and Delta — both of whom will host regional rounds — and Basalt and Roaring Fork. MCHS finished sixth in the 3A WSL with a 3-6 record.
The Middle Park game was similar to the Gunnison games as sophomore Marek Marshall belted his first round-tripper early in the day, only for the hosting team to take control from there.
“The box score shows us who we are, not the final score,” Romansky said. “It looks worse than it actually was. We played good baseball, but we had innings that kind of just went crooked because we either let off the gas or decided that the end was coming. Our Achilles heel this year was around inning three, four or five, we’d get tired and have to make up ground late in the game.”
Romansky said his pitchers especially were feeling spent in the final week.
“With the schedule being what it was, we had to put everybody on a pretty strict pitch count, which was just to get to this number so you can have a day of rest and come back,” he said. “We had to take a lot of them off the mound earlier than I would have liked, which probably shifted the game a bit. Unfortunately, there’s just not enough arms to get us through the entire season.”
Seniors Easton Briggs and Easton Eckroth and junior Riley Thompson combined for 13 strikeouts against Rangely. For Gunnison, seniors Cort Murphy and Casey Schulder had five K’s between them, while Kirby had five of his own.
Romansky also had a fluctuating roster late in the spring; just as junior Caleb Squires was coming back from a shoulder injury after sitting out the Steamboat games, senior Marcos Romero missed the entire final week with a head injury while fielding a hit by the Sailors.
“It was just a little ground ball that took a bad hop and hit me in the head,” Romero said. “It didn’t really affect me until later, it was a couple innings later when it started to hurt.”
Despite missing much of the tail end, Romero said he enjoyed the season that allowed him to improve his skills and bond with the team.
“I’ll just miss hanging out, talking about random stuff.”
Along with Briggs, Eckroth, Murphy, Romero, and Schulder, senior Dylan Herndon was honored for senior night as the team manager.
“With baseball everybody treats everyone like family,” Herndon said. “The competition is still there, but it’s like family.”
Romansky said he’ll miss his oldest players and all they brought to the team this year.
“They’re great kids and great competitors,” he said. “They’re one of the reasons why we had the successes we did this year, from those guys coming out and working really hard and taking the young guys under their wings.”
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