Basinger’s triples ignite 8-run 1st inning in Fruita’s win

Cody Basinger stepped up to the plate with an aggressive mindset.

“I wanted to hit his first pitch,” Fruita Monument High School’s junior third baseman said. “I usually try to hit the first pitch, to get that momentum.”

Launching a high-and-outside fastball from Durango’s Jeremy Szura deep into the right-center field gap for a triple, momentum is precisely what Basinger brought to the Wildcats’ cause.

The No. 2 hitter’s booming, opposite-field shot at cavernous Canyon View Park sparked an eight-run first inning that set the tone for Fruita’s 14-6 Southwestern League win over the Demons on Friday. He added a second triple later in the inning, driving in two runs with a towering drive over the center fielder’s head.

“I thought Cody’s hit kind of got us going, and I think we hit the ball well today,” Wildcats coach Ray McLennan said. “We had a good approach the whole game. Our plan was to be aggressive and go get ‘em. I thought that hit shook us up just enough to get rolling.”

Fruita’s first-inning output erased a 1-0 deficit and featured four hits, four walks and a Durango error. The Wildcats went on to score at least one run in every inning but the fifth.

“We’ve been susceptible to that big inning all year,” Demons coach Rob Coddington said. “For whatever reason, it just kind of happens. It’s been our enemy this year, but these guys keep working. We’ll keep our heads up and keep rolling into the next game.”

Conner Cronkhite picked up the win with four innings of work. He allowed six runs — five earned — on seven hits. Doran Wood finished it out, scattering two hits across three scoreless frames.

Kelin Henke (3 for 4, double, three RBI), Casey Mays (2 for 4, double, RBI) and Ty Burtard (2 for 4, two RBI) all had multiple-hit days along with Basinger (2 for 5, two RBI).

Szura finished up 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI to lead Durango (7-9, 2-5).

After a 6-2 loss to Central on Tuesday, a game in which Fruita mustered only four hits, the Wildcats needed Friday’s outburst in the worst way.

“You’ve got to try to have a short memory,” Basinger said. “That’s what coach tells us. You have to try to come out and play well the next day. There’s nothing you can do about the loss.”

Drifting in the middle of the SWL pack, the Wildcats (8-8, 3-4) are fighting long playoff odds.

“We’re a desperate team,” McLennan conceded. “I think, for the most part, the pressure’s off. We’ve just got to play hard and do what we need to do — win. We’re not out of it yet. It’s not bright, but there’s still a gleam of hope.”

Three games remain for Fruita, including today’s 10 a.m. meeting with Montezuma-Cortez at Canyon View. After that, a Tuesday trip to Montrose and a May 7 game against Grand Junction round out the 
regular-season schedule.

Durango faces Central at 
9:30 a.m. today at Suplizio Field.

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