Once bats wake up, GJ cruises past Doherty
The Grand Junction High School baseball team’s first hit Friday didn’t come until the bottom of the third inning when Owen Taylor hit an opposite field home run inside the left field foul pole at Canyon View Park.
It wasn’t until after the Tigers chased Doherty’s ace that their bats really got going, allowing Grand Junction to storm past the Spartans for a 16-6 nonleague victory in six innings after trailing 4-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning.
Grand Junction struggled against starter Brandon Schmidt before slamming the Doherty bullpen. A Taylor single sparked a three-hit, two-run fourth inning that allowed the Tigers to tie the game 4-4. In the fifth inning, Tristan Lafferty slapped a two-run double, and Taylor followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers the lead for good at 7-6.
“Our guys stayed within our approach,” coach Donnie Alexander said. “We have a phrase we’ve been preaching since September: Stay in your box. Let the pitcher throw the pitch where we want it, and then when it gets there, square it up.
“We got off our game early, and they were a little more vocal than teams we’ve played. A lot more cheering and stuff. Our guys didn’t really know how to handle that in the first couple innings, and it showed with the errors. Once we got by that and did what we do best, hit the ball, we were able to score some runs.”
The Tigers have won their first four games by a combined score of 67-24. Against Doherty, Lafferty went 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles, and Taylor went 4 for 5 with a home run and three laser singles.
“(Taylor) has been doing a great job,” Alexander said. “All our guys, one through nine, have been hitting the ball. They’ve all been doing their job. With a runner on third, getting a hit, getting a sac fly, just doing what needs to be done.”
Josh Moore tossed a complete game, throwing just more than 90 pitches, and Alexander described him as “a workhorse.”
“We’ve got him on a throwing program and a stretching program, and I’m just keeping an eye on him,” Alexander said.
The Spartans left seven runners in scoring position, and the Tigers were able to escape multiple jams unscathed.
“After your team gives you some runs, you try to go out a put up a zero for them,” Moore said. “It helped kill (Doherty’s) momentum.
“We’re going to come out tomorrow and eliminate some errors. If we didn’t have those, they would have only had two runs. It’s just something that needs to be cleaned up.”