Tuesday night lights
GJ tops rival Central under the lights at Bergman Field
Elisha Jahnke knew during warmups she’d be on target.
Maddie Marsh felt focused before the first pitch.
All because, both said, the lights were on, and Colorado Mesa University’s Bergman Field was the regal site, and rival Central was the opponent.
Jahnke threw a one-hitter, and Marsh went 2 for 3 with a double and a two-run single as Grand Junction defeated Central 5-0 on Tuesday night.
Grand Junction (12-2-1, 6-0 Southwestern League) won its first matchup of the season against Central (8-7, 4-1).
Marsh hit a two-run single to left field to put the Tigers ahead 2-0 in the second inning. She also drilled a fourth-inning double to the right-field wall.
“I just felt real focused,” Marsh said.
Credit her positive talk.
“When I was swinging I’d just say things like, ‘This is the day; this is our game,’ ” Marsh said.
Jahnke, meanwhile, struck out five batters, walked one and hit one.
“I was just feeling it in warmups,” Jahnke said. “Obviously we’re playing Central, under the lights, playing at Mesa. It just gets you pumped up.”
Central’s Tiana Wirth was the only Warrior to get a hit off Jahnke — and barely. Wirth slapped a bloop over Jahnke’s head and into center field.
“We were pumped to play here,” Wirth said. “It’s just how the field feels when you get out there. And under the lights you know you’re going to push yourself more.”
Wirth attended Grand Junction High as a freshman.
“I wanted to show them I’m actually a good player,” Wirth said.
And the shortstop perhaps did so with her diving, fifth-inning stop of a ground ball, and by producing her team’s only hit.
But Jahnke consistently got ahead of Warriors hitters, sometimes getting four- and five-pitch innings.
“When you’re only having four-pitch innings it means our hitters weren’t patient at the plate,” Central coach Scott Else said. “We had talked about being patient. ... and we hit the ball. We just didn’t hit anything super hard, and it was right at people.”
Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said Jahnke’s movement kept Central hitters off-balance.
“Elisha came up huge for us,” Diaz said. “And she had great defense behind her. She moved the ball around, hit her spots and showed a lot of patience. It’s a rivalry game, and we’re going to get after it. You’ve got to love it.”
Amber Walters started on the mound for Central. Laurel Rafferty relieved Walters in the fourth inning and cooled the Tigers’ hitters, getting three strikeouts in two innings.
Central next hosts Fruita Monument on Thursday. Also Thursday, Grand Junction is at Basalt.