Tigers’ bats roar
Grand Junction collects 16 hits in win over Central
A pitcher actually has two best friends in the game of baseball and Josh Moore was happy to have both with him Tuesday afternoon.
The Grand Junction High School pitcher enticed a key double play in the third inning and got plenty of run support to take the pressure off in going the distance in the Tigers’ 16-2 five-inning win over Central (7-6, 2-2 SWL) at Suplizio Field.
“He’s a battler,” Tigers head coach Donnie Alexander said about Moore. “He’s been our workhorse all season and we really needed him to stay out there today.”
With it being a make-up game from an earlier postponement, the Tigers (9-5, 3-1) played Palisade in a second game of a doubleheader. The Bulldogs won the nonleague game 8-2.
The Tigers pounded out 16 hits in their win over the Warriors, with the bottom of the order doing lots of damage.
Tyler Heinsma, hitting eighth, had three hits, including an RBI triple in the third to give the Tigers a 6-1 lead.
Derek Derush, the No. 9 hitter, went 3 for 3 with a pair of RBI.
The game’s big hit came from cleanup hitter Owen Taylor, who launched a three-run home run to key a punishing eight-run fourth for the Tigers. The left-handed hitting Taylor turned on a fastball, sending it high and deep to right. The ball was just inside the right-field foul pole and just over the 330-foot sign.
The first was Grand Junction’s only scoreless inning but the Tigers threatened before Central catcher Kyle Serrano threw out Dillon Fante trying to steal third.
The Tigers chased Central starter Noah Sanchez after 2 2/3 innings. After a tough second inning, Central’s hard-throwing right-hander got the first two hitters out in the third. Zack Cox worked a walk and Heinsma lashed his triple to deep right-center. Derush followed with an infield single to score Heinsma.
The fourth inning was a strange bag of seeing-eye singles, infield hits and a pair of extra-base hits. Besides Taylor’s home run, Tristan Lafferty doubled in a run with a deep shot to left-center.
Moore was steady throughout with only a few wobbles along the way. He said when he has a big lead his job on the mound isn’t difficult.
“I just wanted to go out there and throw strikes and get them out,” he said. “It’s easy when we put up that many runs.”
Alexander said it can be tough on a pitcher’s focus coming out after a big offensive inning like the Tigers had in the top of the fourth.
“He kind of struggled at times and in the fourth he had to get re-focused, but he did,” Alexander said.
Moore overcame a shaky start to the game and survived a bases-loaded jam by only giving up a single run.
The win over Central keeps the Tigers in second place in the Southwestern League standings.
“This first game (Tuesday) was really important since it was a league game,” Moore said.
Undefeated Montrose (13-0, 6-0) continues to lead the league and plays Central on Thursday.
Grand Junction and Central are scheduled to play again on May 1.