Bulldogs pitch in to win
Crow, Tway lead Palisade to doubleheader sweep of Rifle
For most of this season, the Palisade High School baseball team has been swinging absurdly hot bats.
The Bulldogs, ranked sixth in Class 4A, are hitting a combined .410 this season and have scored a league-high 146 runs. They’ve scored double-digit runs in every game but one.
Coach Steve Moore knew the bats would cool eventually, and when that game came, his pitching would have to pick up the slack.
Palisade swept a doubleheader Saturday against Rifle behind two solid pitching performances, 3-0 and 9-4, to remain undefeated in the 4A Western Slope League.
“It’s funny because our bats have been so hot lately and we preach to the kids that at some point our bats weren’t going to come through and our pitching would have to,” Moore said. “Slowly but surely, these last couple games, our pitching has come along.”
Tass Crow was dominant for Palisade (11-2, 8-0 WSL), pitching a complete-game, two-hit shutout, and recorded nine strikeouts during Game 1. Crow said his performance was out of necessity more than anything else.
“I mean, our hitting wasn’t there, so I needed to step up,” Crow said. “It’s a really good feeling to get up (on the mound) like that, and we have a really solid defense, so that helps a lot.”
T.J. Tway gave up his first earned run of the season to Rifle (6-6, 2-5 WSL) in Game 2, but also struck out seven over five innings of work. Tway averages 12.5 strikeouts per seven innings this season, but said he dropped his velocity in favor of accuracy over the winter.
“I knew that I’d have to throw hard and throw strikes and find my groove,” Tway said. “I struggled a little at first, but when I found the zone, I started to settle in. I changed my whole pitching mindset for this year and it helped. We have a great defense this year. I throw strikes and let them hit it and have my defense do the work.
“I used to throw hard but couldn’t find the zone. I’ve lost some velocity but I’ve been throwing in the zone. It’s been working for me so far. You know, today they scored a run, but that’s OK.”
Palisade continues to roll through its league schedule, and Moore said consistency is one of the only things his team has to work on. In order for the Bulldogs to battle teams like Montrose, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, in the playoffs, consistency at the plate and on the mound is paramount.
“This is one of the most competitive teams I’ve coached,” Moore said. “I’m an intense coach, and these kids are intense, too, probably more intense than I am, even though they’re really good at bottling it up.
“And you know, it’s been fun coaching these guys. We just need to become more consistent at the plate and with our pitching moving forward, and everything should come together.”