Moffat County baseball splits with Coal Ridge to start league play; home opener moved to Saturday |

Moffat County baseball splits with Coal Ridge to start league play; home opener moved to Saturday

Moffat County's Carson Miller exchanges high-fives with teammates after successfully scoring.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

Last season, Moffat County baseball was on a seven-game win streak before seeing the team’s first defeat.

It’s taken a little longer to get that first W this spring, but now that they’ve gotten back into the victory mindset, the Bulldogs are looking to stay that way.

MCHS came back from an initial defeat Saturday against the Coal Ridge Titans, splitting the doubleheader with a 7-2 loss and a 9-6 win.

Moffat County went into the first game against a 3A Western Slope League opponent looking to change up the energy from the season opener against the Battle Mountain Huskies.

What began as a largely even game in Edwards came to an abrupt end in the sixth inning as Battle Mountain drove up the score with eight unanswered runs that triggered the mercy rule as the Huskies won 14-4.

The first game against the Titans went awry early with two runs in the first inning for Coal Ridge that seemed to taunt MoCo players before they got on the board in the top of the sixth with senior Derrick Squires and junior Casey Schulder crossing the plate.

Still, scoring was stalled from there for both sides — with pitchers Squires and Daniel Running combining for a dozen strikeouts throughout the first game — to let the Titans triumph.

“Once they got the lead, they had the fun, and runs are easier to get when you’re having fun, so then we’ve gotta play tight,” said MCHS head coach Brian Jennings.

The message from Bulldog coaches that moving to 0-3 would not be acceptable sunk in, and after struggling to record hits in the morning, seniors Ryan Peck and Carson Miller were back in their groove early on to get on base and go all the way around the diamond.

With Peck and Running on the mound, the MoCo infield and outfield alike were newly energized to neutralize the Titans’ effort. Despite some big blasts by Coal Ridge nearly to the wall, fly balls were of little consequence as the Bulldogs got their gloves in gear.

“We just had to get off the bus that first game and didn’t really get going, but the second game we just got the sticks going and played a lot better all-around,” said junior Cort Murphy.

Jennings was pleased with the win, yet there was some frustration at the lack of a sweep.

“We should’ve been able to beat those guys by 10,” Jennings said. “I think they found that urgency by losing that first one, and they knew they couldn’t lose two to that team. Props to them for that, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. They didn’t come out losers, but we know that we’re better than that.”

MCHS baseball was scheduled for its home opener Tuesday against non-league competitor Middle Park, though strong winds and other difficulties forced a reschedule against the Panthers for April 26.

Instead, the Bulldogs will be on their own field for the first time this weekend with a doubleheader against Aspen starting at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“(We’re) looking forward to being at home,” Jennings said. “We want to see as many people out there as we possibly can and get that energy up to help us out. We know that we’re one of the best teams on this side of the state. We’ve just gotta find it.”

Moffat County's Max Noland stays vigilant at third base against Coal Ridge.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

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