Carbondale (3/31/16) – An early April Fool’s trick has forced the Glenwood Springs baseball team to postpone its Western Slope League home opener, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 2, versus Eagle Valley – the fences are in the process of being moved back, but aren’t yet in place.
“It’s frustrating, but we’re trying to stay positive,” coach Eric Nieslanik said before his team broke out the bats to support a strong outing by starter Stephen Romero in a 10-1 non-league win at Roaring Fork.
Romero made a strong claim to succeed the graduated Chase Nieslanik as staff ace. The junior held the winless Rams to two hits and one unearned run while striking out nine in an efficient, 59-pitch four innings, squaring his record at 1-1 and matching his win total from last season.
The hitting hero for the Demons (2-2) began a big day in an inauspicious manner. Shortstop Sebastian “Chano” Gonzales laid down an unnecessary first-inning bunt as Kyle La Couture, after having walked to lead off the game against Drew Broadhurst, already had second stolen.
Two of what would become a total of seven Roaring Fork errors helped Glenwood to a 2-0 lead without a hit. The Rams got one of those back in unusual fashion in the home half. Romero struck out Aldo Pinela, but the pitch bounced to the deep backstop and the speedy leadoff hitter easily reached first, then advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt, before coming home on a wild pitch.
Romero wound up with the rare feat of striking out four batters in that first inning and cruised from there, allowing just singles by Hayden Bernot and Ralph Good before sophomore lefty Davis Deaton finished the game with two scoreless innings.
LaCouture was a one-man, two-out rally in the second, beating out a grounder to short, stealing second, going to third on a balk, and scoring on a wild pitch.
The Ram defense betrayed Broadhurst again in the fourth as the Demons batted around producing four runs on three errors mixed with six hits. A double to the base of the left-centerfield fence by Cooper Cornelius keyed four consectutive hits, leading to a 7-1 lead.
Gonzales, who would go 3-for-3 from the fourth through the sixth innings, led off the 5th with a triple to left-center and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Dawson Kuhl, and Romero used two heads-up baserunning plays to produce another run. He tagged up from first when left-fielder Jake Kelley made a nice running catch in foul ground, took third on yet another wild pitch, and caught the Rams napping when third baseman Joe Salinas caught Jake Brown’s foul pop-up and no one covered home.
A four-run sixth, featuring a two-run double by Gonzales provided the ten-run mercy rule lead. Deaton closed out the game as Gonzales, moving to third when Romero took over at short, turned a hot shot into an easy forceout. Deaton, who had an impressive hitless, three-inning varsity starting debut last year, allowed one hit in his 16-pitch, two innings, striking out two.
Triston Howe and Jake Brown each added two hits for the Demons, who tallied 11 in dropping the Rams record to 0-4. Roaring Fork (0-2 WSL) will host Cedaredge next Tuesday, while Glenwood hopes to play its home opener at 3 p.m. next Wednesday, April 6, against Rifle (4-1), which is already 2-0 in league play.