Win over GJ clinches SWL title for Indians

One battled, one cruised, but both pitchers were impressive.

It was a classic pitcher’s duel Tuesday at Canyon View Park with the Montrose Indians coming away with a 3-0 victory over the Grand Junction Tigers. With the win, Montrose (15-1, 8-0) wrapped up the Southwestern League title — its third in the past five years.

Skylar Haynes was masterful on the mound for the Indians, pitching a complete-game two-hitter.

Josh Moore went the distance for the Tigers, allowing only three runs, two of them earned runs.

Haynes started slowly, giving up a hit in each of the first two innings. But after that, he sat down Grand Junction hitters like a busy wedding usher. The Montrose senior sent the final 16 Tigers back to the dugout and had an efficient, nine-pitch inning in the fifth. He ended the game getting 20 of the final 21 hitters out.

In the first, Haynes gave up a single to Ty Dixon and then hit Tristan Lafferty with a pitch. Haynes then struck out Owen Taylor and got Andrew Johnson to ground out to first base.

“Great pitching performance. Both guys really battled, and (Montrose) got a couple of key hits and got the win,” Grand Junction coach Donnie Alexander said.

This was the second straight time Haynes outdueled Moore. The Indians picked up a 6-3 win over Grand Junction (9-6, 4-2 SWL) on April 4.

“Grand Junction is a great hitting team,” Haynes said. “I just had to locate low in the strike zone, and when I threw curves, to make sure they didn’t hang.”

Haynes left few pitches in the middle of plate, continually nipping at the corners. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.

Haynes drove in the first Montrose run with a single up the middle after Garrett Zarkis doubled with two outs in the second. Montrose picked up an unearned run in the sixth and the third run in the seventh when Jake Bradburn launched a deep RBI triple to right.

Moore started out with a 1-2-3 first but then struggled to keep Montrose runners off the bases. In the second and third he got out of jams, leaving two runners on base. With the bases loaded in the fourth, Moore got Ben Cruz to ground out to third baseman Zack Cox to end the threat and keep the score at 1-0.

Brennan Woodruff singled and scored in the sixth after he stole second and came around on a Grand Junction error.

Montrose coach Landon Wareham said the Indians needed a big performance from Haynes.

“Skylar did a great job on the mound, and we really needed him because we did not swing the bats very well,” he said, giving Moore credit for pitching well.

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