KMTS BASEBALL: Rifle Pitching Improves Playoff Prospects @ Eagle Valley

GYPSUM (4/27/13) — Rifle baseball coach Troy Phillips couldn’t remember when his team completed a doubleheader in under three hours, but that’s what the Bears did as they swept Eagle Valley behind a pair of complete games by pitchers Danny Bartels and Teig Hauer, 3-1 and 4-1.  

Timely hitting and solid defense also played a role as the Bears (9-6, 5-5 WSL) moved into position to possibly capture the third Western Slope playoff slot.  Eagle Valley (7-7, 6-3), which had been tied with Delta for second place behind Palisade, will play the undefeated Bulldogs next weekend.  

Bartels (3-2) was masterful in the first game, striking out 14 to win a duel over Travis Edgar, who fanned 12 Bears without a walk.  Triston Quigley drilled a long home run to right center to get Rifle off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Zach Linder tied it with an RBI-single in the third.  Bartels blasted a solo shot over the left-field fence to break the tie in the fourth and Wyatt Robinson two-out single provided an insurance run in the sixth.

Eagle Valley threatened in the final frame by getting the first two runners aboard, but Bartels picked Dylan Trudeau off first, then struck out the last two hitters to finish with a 7-hitter.  

The Bears and Hauer walked a tightrope to victory in the second game despite three, two-out RBI’s in the first inning. Angel Diaz doubled home the first run, scored on Hauer’s single, and after a stolen base, Layton Stutsman sliced an opposite-field double to left to make it 3-0.

 Hauer (2-1), who wound up stranding ten Devils on the bases in a complete-game 7-hitter, got out of a two-on, one-out first inning jam by dropping a third-strike curveball in on clean-up hitting Edgar and retiring Juan Baca on a grounder.  After that, Hauer retired the first two hitters in the next four innings, but wildness created two-out trouble in the second and third that Hauer escaped on force plays by shortstop Quigley and third baseman Diaz.

Stutsman saved a run in the 4th by coming up to catch Linder’s two-out liner to center with a runner on second.

The Bears added to their lead in the 5th when a two-out error scored Bailey Hoffmeister.  Eagle got that run back as a tiring Hauer yielded four hits around a line-drive out to open the sixth.  With the bases loaded, Hauer got ahead of lead-off hitter Linder with a couple of curve balls.  “We didn’t were afraid to throw him a fast ball (over the plate),” Phillips explained after the game, so he called for an outside “waste” pitch to set up another curve.  But the umpire rang up Linder for strike three on the outside fastball, and Hauer struck out Harrison Stevens, the Devils’ leading hitter (.481), on a curve ball to strand three runners.

Hauer, who made 105 pitches for the game, then got Eagle’s 3-4-5 hitters on 7 pitches to finish off the complete-game, 7-hitter in the seventh with help from a diving, leaping grab by Bartels of Edgar’s liner for the second out.  The Bears made just one error on the day.

If the Bears take care of business in their final three games against Glenwood and Battle Mountain, and the Devils lose two to Palisade, Rifle would take the third playoff spot behind the Bulldogs and Delta.


GLENWOOD SPRINGS (4/25/13) Chase Nieslanik and Willie Salcido each pitched complete games as Glenwood Springs swept Summit 3-2 and 18-3 in a doubleheader Thursday at home.

The Demons (4-8, 2-5) came from behind to win their first Western Slope League game in the opener.  A two-out, first-inning single by Ian Scruton staked Nieslanik to a 1-0 lead but two errors in the third enabled the Tigers to go in front, 2-1.  Nieslanik helped himself with a double to begin the fourth, and after a wild pitch moved him to third, Isaac Law’s sacrifice fly to right tied the score.

An inning later, Pete Ray reached on an error, then stole second and scored what would prove to be the winning run on a bad-hop single by Carder Ullom that bounced over shortstop Thomas DeBinville’s head.

Nieslanik survived a pair of walks in the sixth by striking out Andy Falcone, then retired Summit in order in the final inning to finish the 3-hit, 100-pitch gem for his second win against three losses.

The second game was essentially over in the first inning when Glenwood scored 9 unearned runs, sending 13 batters to the plate. Three Tiger errors and two walks, added to a pair of hits and 4 RBIs by Ray, including a bases-loaded double, allowed Salcido to improve to 2-3 with a 5-hit complete game.

The Demons nearly closed out the game in five, but leading 12-2, a two-out throwing error on a dropped third strike extended the contest to 7 innings.  But Glenwood added another 6 runs in the top of the 7th, putting together four straight singles by Salcido, Ray, Ullom and Scruton.

Salcido yielded back-to-back  doubles without allowing a run in the 7th, because Ullom threw out Jake Latta trying to steal third before Debinville followed with a two base hit to left.  Brian Burbidge recorded the second out with a charging pick-up of Kyle McCormick’s grounder to short and a pop-up on Salcido’s 95th pitch ended the game.

Ray had 5 hits in the doubleheader and Burbidge and Scrutan each drove in three runs.  The Demons will travel to Edwards to make up a doubleheader with winless Battle Mountain on Monday.