KMTS Baseball: Demons Sink Sailors Twice in Home Opener

GLENWOOD SPRINGS (3/24/18) – Despite the deluge of rain that soaked the baseball field, it was the Glenwood Springs Demons and not the Steamboat Sailors who stayed afloat long enough to sweep a doubleheader in the Western Slope League opener for both teams.

Coach Eric Nieslanik, his team, and coaching staff put in hours of work reclaiming the field from the previous night’s downpour, though the original start time was moved back almost two hours. Due to their efforts, Glenwood and Steamboat got both games in, the Demons holding on to prevail in game one, 6-5, and riding a ten-strikeout, complete game from Chano Gonzalez, won the nightcap, 4-2.

Davis Deaton had a two-hit, nine-strikeout shutout going through the first four innings of game one, leading 5-0 thanks to a big first inning. But he also had walked six, and the extra pitches from all those deep counts caught up to him.

Steamboat cashed in yet another walk to leadoff hitter Colter Gansmann in the fifth, but Glenwood got that run back on a single and stolen base by Jake Brown, followed by a wild pitch from starter and loser Jack Boyle, and a sacrifice fly by Dylan Lee.

Deaton began the sixth by walking Boyle, wild-pitched him to second, and yielded a run-scoring single to Theo Hansen. When Deaton walked his ninth batter, Nieslanik replaced him with Brady Steen, whose control wasn’t any better.

Steen balked Hansen to third and wild pitched him home, while walking the first two batters he faced. Brown nearly bailed him out by picking off one runner from second after backhanding another near wild pitch, then catching a second Sailor off base for out number two. But Gansmann singled and Steen walked the next hitter, loading the bases, and causing Nieslanik to turn to handyman Ash Stolley. The sophomore, who played four positions in the 14-5 loss to Montrose last Wednesday, didn’t fare much better initially, walking in a run and yielding an infield single for another, closing the deficit to 6-5.

However secondbaseman Leo Anchondo ranged far to his left to nab a grounder by Doyle on the grass and Lee managed to snag his high throw and stay on the bag for the third out.

Stolley, who worked three innings of relief in addition to playing third base and two different outfield spots against the Indians, was first betrayed, then rescued by his defense in the seventh.

Hansen hit a routine grounder to short but Gonzalez put too much on the throw and it sailed over Lee for a two-base error. With the tying run at second, Navy Karow hit a grounder to thirdbaseman Tyler Boyd. Instead of going to first, Boyd spotted Hansen too far off second and got the Sailor catcher in a run down. Finally tagged at third by shortstop Gonzalez, the junior then nailed Karow trying for second in an unusual double play that cleared the bases.

Gonzalez atoned for his error leading off the inning by cutting off Alan Duty’s grounder behind second base and firing to first to end the game.

Deaton wound up with a three-hit, nine strikeout victory, his first of the season against one loss. The Demons’ big first inning began with a leadoff double by Boyd and featured RBI singles from Gonzalez, Deaton, Kai Kanzer, and Lee.

Glenwood again grabbed an early lead in the second game, with a double by Deaton keying a pair of runs, aided by a hit batsman and a Steamboat error.

The Sailors, who were error-free in the field in the first game, committed a second miscue leading off the second, and following a wild pitch and stolen base, Steen scored on an infield single by Chris Deaton for a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez, who faced second-and-third with no one out in the first, struck out the next two and retired twelve straight Sailors into the fifth inning. Brown doubled home Gonzalez after a walk and stolen base to open a 4-0 lead before Steamboat rallied, sending seven hitters to the plate.

Gonzalez issued his first two walks of the game, setting up a two-out, two-run single by Ethan Johnson. However Chano struck out opposing pitcher Quintin White to end the inning, and finished the complete game with a five hitter on 111 pitches.

The doubleheader win sends Glenwood (3-2, 2-0 WSL) into its spring break with the next game coming at Eagle Valley on April 4.