WEST GLENWOOD SPRINGS (3/23/11) — A “vulture” in baseball lingo is a relief pitcher who loses a lead for another pitcher, only to pick up the win for himself. That may be too harsh a term for Kevin Flohr, who blew a save in relief of Luke Jacob, because if it werent for Flohr's bat, Cody Derby wouldn't have had the chance to bounce a game-winning single in the home half of the seventh to open the 2011 Glenwood Springs baseball season with an 8-7 win over Coal Ridge, Wednesday.
Flohr provided most of the offensive fireworks for the Demons with a two-out, two-run double off the top of the left field fence in the 3rd to tie the score at three, and repeated the feat, to the base of the right-field fence, with one out in the 6th, erasing a 7-5 Coal Ridge lead.
Jacob was the beneficiary of the first blast, when it appeared Robbie Moore was going to survive five walks in the inning with a 3-1 lead intact. Moore walked the first two hitters, but when Nathan Terrin's attempt to throw out Mario Gonzalez at first got past Trey Derby, Carlos Hernandez tried to score. He was thrown out by Derby, as Cole Ryan applied the tag. With runners on second and third and one out, the clean-up hitting Jacob was called out on a sharp-breaking curve ball, but Flohr delivered. When he came around to score on a wild pitch, Jacob had a 4-3 lead.
Dealing with his own bout of wildness, Jacob had walked four Titans in the second and third, and Trey Derby made him pay with a two-run single. Cody Walls' heads-up baserunning set up the third run, but Jacob settled down with help from his defense in the 4th. Gonzalez made a nice play on a grounder over the bag at third, and Flohr's shoestring catch in center concluded the 1-2-3 inning.
Glenwood added another run in the fourth when Hernandez singled, was wild pitched to second, and after a ground-out and walk, scored on another wild pitch by Moore, who struck out Jacob again to avoid further damage. Moore, who battled through 121 pitches in 5 innings, walking nine and striking out 7, left with a chance at a victory because Flohr couldn't hold a 5-3 lead for Jacob, partly because of the centerfielder's own error.
In the top of the 5th, Jacob and Flohr switched positions, with Flohr allowing a single to Cameron Cotton, but holding Coal Ridge scoreless on 13 pitches. The top of the 6th was a different story. After Terrin's one-out single,Trey Derby launched a drive to right center that Jacob appeared to have made a fine, running catch on, but the ball bounced free, leaving runners on second and third.
Austin Pace and Robbie Moore cashed in both runs with singles to left to tie the score, and the Titans took the lead when Cotton and Dejon Elmer had back-to-back, two-out hits. Cotton was thrown out at third on a fine throw by Pete Ray to end the four-run inning with Coal Ridge ahead 7-5.
Moore came out to pitch the 6th, but yielded a booming, lead-off double to Cody Derby, and his day was done after issuing an intentional walk to Gonzalez. Cotton came in from center and got Jacob to pop up to left field, but Flohr delivered again before the Titan left-hander struck out the next two hitters, stranding the 9th Demon baserunner in the last 5 innings.
Coal Ridge (0-4) threatened in the top of the 7th as Flohr walked Ryan, the lead-off hitter, but when he broke for second, Hernandez caught Korbyn Brown's soft liner to short and easily completed the double play.
Cotton looked to be cruising in the home half when Moore tracked down Robert Reynolds' liner in center and Ray struck out, but Hernandez worked a walk, then stole second despite a throw right on the bag by Ryan. Cody Derby helped by swinging at a low pitch to provide the margin needed for Hernandez to slide in safely.
Derby then chopped the next pitch toward shortstop, but it bounced just over the leaping 6-5 Terrin, into left field and when Walls couldn't pick it up cleanly, Hernandez slid home with the winning run.
Flohr got the win with 3 innings of relief, and was joined in producing two hits by Cody Derby and Reynolds. Cotton took the loss and led the Titan attack with two hits.
Glenwood (1-0) is scheduled to open its 4A Western Slope League season by hosting a doubleheader with Steamboat Springs at 11 a.m. Saturday, though the weather forecast doesn't look promising. Coal Ridge, which is 0-3 in the 3A WSL, is off for spring break next week and resumes league play at home April 12 with Grand Valley.