WEST GLENWOOD SPRINGS (4/26/19) – Glenwood Springs slugged its way to a doubleheader sweep over Summit County, 10-0 and 9-6, stretching its winning streak to four games and improving to 6-1 in Western Slope League play.
In the first game, Wheatley Nieslanik made it two consecutive shutouts with a complete-game, three-hitter, striking out seven and walking just one in the 10-0 mercy-rule shortened contest. Three days before, Dylan Lee and Nieslanik had combined on a four-hit, 6-0 whitewashing of Eagle Valley.
Two batters into the opening game, Chano Gonzalez doubled home Leo Anchondo, who led off with a single, for the only run Nieslanik would need. However, Lee and Kai Kanzer provided a long-distance cushion in the third inning with solo blasts over the left field fence. Lee’s, his first of the season, actually caromed off Tiger left fielder Ethan Long, who was injured crashing into the chain-link outfield fence trying to make the catch.
Lee thought the ball bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double and remained at second while coaches attended to and escorted Long into the Summit dugout. Once he was replaced, the umpires waved a surprised and delighted Lee around the bases. One out later, Kanzer left no doubt on his third homer of the year as it cleared the fence by plenty, padding the Demon lead to 3-0.
A streak of wildness by Summit starter Koa Rashidi increased the score to 5-0, as he hit one batter, walked two more, then wild-pitched Liam McMahon and Nieslanik home.
The sophomore hurler, who improved his record to 3-2, allowed his first two hits of the game leading off the fourth, but Kanzer cut down Zach Misch trying to steal, and Nieslanik induced a pop-up, which he caught, and ended the inning with his fifth strikeout on a dandy curveball.
Doubles by Lee and Kanzer plated two more runs in the last of the fourth, and a sacrifice fly by McMahon, an error, and Ash Stolley’s single boosted the lead to 10-0.
Nieslanik finished off the Tigers in the fifth, fanning the first and the final outs to finish with seven strikeouts.
Game two was not nearly as well-played or pitched. Since Lee pitched on Tuesday, and trying to save Gonzalez for Monday’s rematch with Eagle Valley, coach Eric Nieslanik gave Leo Anchondo his second start of the season.
The diminutive senior, who had been effective in five previous appearances struggled to hold a first-inning 3-0 lead keyed by Sam Fitzwilliams’ booming triple to left. Rashidi doubled home Misch, who led off with a single and was bunted to second. A terrific relay by Gonzalez nailed Rashidi trying to stretch his long drive to right center at third, but Foster Kruger singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch before Anchondo ended the inning with a strikeout.
A leadoff walk to Nieslanik in the second was cashed in by singles from Ryan Welsh and Stolley, but Anchondo gave back that run with a walk and wild pitch.
Gonzalez took the hill for the third and yielded a one-out double to Rasidi before the umpires sent everyone to the dugouts due to a downpour. After about a half-hour wait, the Demons returned to the field, where Gonzalez walked Kruger before getting out of the inning with a tapper back to the mound and a strikeout.
Cole Houston’s single with a passed ball and Stolley’s groundout padded the lead to 5-2 in the fourth, but Gonzalez walked his way into trouble.
Summit, which does not have a home field, so was allowed to be the home team in game two, loaded the bases on three walks in the last of the fourth, bringing Fitzwilliams, to the mound from third base. The senior righthander cleared the bases, yielding an RBI single to Rashidi, walking in a second run, and wild-pitching home a third before getting out of the inning with the score tied at five.
Lee’s bunt single off reliever Andrew Reynolds and a walk to Fitzwilliams, led to two more runs on wild pitches in the fifth and Stolley’s single set up a sacrifice fly by Gonzalez for an 8-5 lead in the sixth.
Fitzwilliams, escaped trouble in the fifth and sixth, and helped himself by doubling in the seventh and scoring on Kanzer’s team-leading (with Gonzalez) seventh two-bagger of the season.
Beginning his fourth inning of relief, Fitzwilliams, who had never pitched more than two innings in his previous four relief appearances, gave up back-to-back singles to open the seventh, and after an out, Reynolds singled home Kruger. Fitzwilliams struck out the last two hitters, giving him a league-leading four victories (all in relief).
Hitting heroes for the doubleheader win included Stolley, who was 5-for-7 with 3 RBIs, Lee, with 4 hits and 4 runs scored, Kanzer, with 3 hits and 4 RBIs, and Fitzwilliams, who was 3-for-3 with a double and triple in game two. The Demons blasted eight extra base hits in the two games, and hope to keep their hitting shoes on when they host Eagle Valley (7-5, 2-4) in a make up game on Monday.