Go fourth and hit
Fourteen-run fourth inning lifts GJ to rout of Poudre
Once around the batting order wasn’t enough for the Grand Junction High School baseball team in the fourth inning Tuesday. So, the Tigers went all the way around again.
Eighteen batters went to the plate in a 14-run inning as Grand Junction pounded Poudre 20-3 in a nonleague game that was limited to five innings by the run rule.
Grand Junction preaches discipline and patience at the plate, and it looked like it paid off in the third inning: four runs on three hits and two walks. That, it turned out, was nothing.
The fourth inning proved to be a nightmare for Poudre pitchers Paul Gallegos, who was pulled with no outs after giving up two extra-base hits and a walk, and Tanner Schoeninger, who suffered through the remainder of the frame.
“We just came with an approach to the plate: Wait for him to put one in our box and put a good swing on it,” Tigers coach Donnie Alexander said.
The Tigers are good listeners, and they needed to be Tuesday, cleanup hitter Owen Taylor said. Neither of Poudre’s pitchers had a blazing fastball, so Grand Junction needed to resist the temptation to swing too soon.
“The real challenge is staying back and staying up the middle, stay within our approach and not chase bad pitches,” said Taylor who went 3 for 3 with a double and drove in two runs.
Taylor’s double hit the base of the Suplizio Field wall in right center and scored Tristan Lafferty, who opened the fourth inning with a double to the wall in left center. Lafferty added a three-run triple when he started the Tigers on their second time through the order in the fourth, No. 9 hitter Derek DeRush had a two-run single and a two-run double in the inning, and leadoff hitter Dillon Fante laced a two-run double.
Meanwhile, Grand Junction got a strong outing from starting pitcher Josh Moore, who has started all three of the Tigers’ games this season. Tuesday, though, came with one big difference: a scoreless first inning.
After giving up two runs in the first inning to Greeley Central on March 8 and three runs in the first inning to Fruita Monument on March 12, Moore survived a single and an error in the opening frame against Poudre. He struck out the first batter of the game, then got the Impalas’ No. 4 hitter to strike out looking and fanned the No. 5 hitter on a check swing.
“Coach was working with me on keeping the ball down and pounding the strike zone,” Moore said. “That’s what I did, and it was effective.”
Moore worked the first four innings and limited the Impalas to one run on three hits and one walk and nine strikeouts.
He said he had command of all of his pitches, throwing them for strikes, plus “I was locating out of the strike zone when I needed to. I could put them where I needed to.”
When Moore missed with a pitch, he kept it down, Alexander said, adding, “That was a heck of a job.”