GJ's Moore delivers game-winning hit in comeback
Josh Moore stood counting in the outfield at Suplizio Field during the top of the seventh inning Tuesday.
By his math, the Grand Junction High School senior would come up to bat with an opportunity to drive in the game-winning run.
He was right, and he did.
Moore delivered a run-scoring single up the middle to score Anthony Johnson for the game-winning run in a wild 15-14 come-from-behind victory over Palisade.
“When I was standing out there in right field, I was counting hitters and outs and knew I’d be up there for the winning run,” Moore said. “That’s what I was thinking about the whole time.
“Every way I simulated it out there, I knew I had a chance. I knew I was going to get a hit.”
Moore, though, fell behind 0-2 in the count with the bases loaded and no out. He took a pitch, then hit a 1-2 fastball up the middle for the winning hit.
“I knew I was going to hit the ball, no matter what,” Moore said. “Coach (Donnie Alexander) always believes in us, no matter what. I bought into his philosophy. Every at-bat this game I told myself I was going to hit the ball.”
Moore’s hit capped a come-from-behind rally and concluded his night with three hits and four RBI in five at-bats.
The Tigers (6-3), who snapped a three-game losing streak, trailed 14-12 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Grand Junction scored three runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batsman. The first two runs scored on bases-loaded walks, giving the Tigers four of those in the game.
There were a combined 18 walks and hit batsmen and five errors in the game.
“We’ll take it,” Alexander said. “We battled. Coming off our Arizona trip, where we had some struggles, we just battled. We had some good offense, we had some bad offense. We had some good defense, we had some bad defense. I’m proud of these guys. They never quit.”
Palisade (4-2) built a 5-2 lead through three innings, but the Bulldogs’ pitching started to unravel in the fifth when it walked three batters and hit another. The defense didn’t help, committing two errors.
By the time the Bulldogs secured the third out, they allowed eight runs on three hits and two errors. Grand Junction led 12-7.
“Our pitchers need to throw strikes, first of all,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “We can’t give people free bases out here. Grand Junction is too good of a team. We’ve got to throw strikes and make the routine play.
“Sometimes when our pitchers are struggling, we tell our infielders and outfielders they’ve got to make some sort of spectacular play to get us out and get the momentum shifted back our way. When we got the momentum, we gave it back too soon.”
The Bulldogs, who have scored at least 12 runs in each of their games, responded with a big inning, scoring seven runs on three hits, one error, three walks and a hit batsman in the top of the sixth.
Eleven of Palisade’s 14 runs came in an inning after Grand Junction scored.
“It was an ugly game, really,” Steve Moore said. “Pitching on both sides wasn’t the best. Whoever had the momentum at the end of the game is going to win. That’s why I’m trying to preach to the kids momentum is so important. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game.”