KMTS BASEBALL: Demon Bats Awake to Earn Split in Steamboat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS(4/11/15) – After 14 scoreless innings in league play, the Glenwood Springs Demons walked their way to a 10-0 split of a doubleheader in Steamboat behind the one-hit pitching of Chase Nieslanik and finally a big hit with runners on base.

Luke Ray delivered the big blow, a bases-loaded triple in the 5th inning of another masterpiece by Nieslanik that gave the senior lefthander an 8-0 lead.

“It gets frustrating,” coach Eric Nieslanik admitted between games after Glenwood left a man in scoring position in every inning of a 3-0 loss to Jesse Pugh and the Sailors.

Glenwood opened the game in promising fashion, putting two runners aboard with one out, and Nieslanik belted a liner that Nieslanik said later he thought was headed for the fence. However, secondbaseman David Brown made a back-hand stab that turned into an easy doubleplay to end the inning.

Steamboat promptly scored all the runs Pugh would need in a 2-0 first-inning off Steven Romero when freshman David Brown rocketed his 5th homer of the season over the left field fence with Billy Clark aboard.

And as they did in their 1-0 loss in Rifle, the Demons hurt themselves with baserunning mistakes. An attempted steal of third defused a one out, two-on rally in the second inning, but the biggest disappointment came in the fourth.

With Nieslanik on first, Tristan Harris lined a base hit off the pitcher’s glove, but after sliding safely into second, Nieslanik popped up and took a few steps toward third only to be trapped off base by Pugh’s throw. This gaff proved costly when a walk and single by Cooper Cornelius loaded the bases. Brown made a fine, drifting catch of Quinn Kimminau’s bid for a base hit to end the inning.

“What really hurt, was we didn’t even need to sacrifice because we could steal second anytime we wanted,” Nieslanik said, which the Demons did four times, including three by Ian Scruton.

However, the second game was a different story. Scruton walked ahead of a single by Romero, and Nieslanik drove home the Demons’ first run in Western Slope play since his grand slam against Delta three games before. Then the Demons pulled a double steal with Romero sliding safely home for a 2-0 lead.

Nieslanik pitched out of his only jam in the second after a walk and Alejandro Sandoval grounding what would prove to be the Sailors’ only hit of the game into center. Only one more runner would reach base the rest of the way, and Glenwood turned the Steamboat pitchers’ walk on the wild-side into three runs in the 4th and five more in the 5th.

Clark ran his walk total to six, putting the first two aboard before Brown relieved him. He walked the bags full, then walked in two runs and allowed another on a fielder’s choice before Romero again tried a delayed steal of home, but was caught for the final out.

With one out in the 5th, Harris and Cornelius reached on singles through the infield and Kimminau was hit by a pitch to fill the bases. Luke Ray, who was victimized by a lack of support in losing the 1-0 game to Rifle, pushed the lead to eight, clearing the bags by belting an opposite-field triple past a diving Sandoval in left.

Romero drove in two more with his third hit, a double, for the 10-0 lead that Nieslanik closed out by fanning the side in the last of the fifth, to finish with 9 strike outs and just one walk in a 69-pitch gem. The win evens Nieslanik’s record at 2-2, giving him 24 strikeouts in his last 13 innings, where he has walked just four and allowed only one earned run.

Glenwood (4-8, 3-5 WSL) continues league play next Saturday by hosting Summit County.