Central uses hot bats to cruise past GJ
In the third inning, the Central High School baseball team loaded the bases three times.
After the sixth inning, the Warriors were celebrating a 17-4 run-rule win over Grand Junction that could have major playoff implications.
Central converted more than half of the opportunities it had with runners in scoring position and notched 11 hits in the first three innings.
The win gave the Warriors new playoff life, Central coach Chuck Yost said, if they can beat Southwestern League champion Montrose. It also pressures Grand Junction to pick up road wins this weekend against Montezuma-Cortez and Durango.
Jeremy Champlin had three hits, including a triple, and Kyle Serrano had a double among his three hits for Central (10-8, 5-4), which finished with 18 hits against a team that routed it 16-2 two weeks earlier.
“You know, hitting is contagious, and tonight we were able to string hits together,” Yost said. “We had good at-bats early in the game, and momentum was on our side. We’re in playoff mode now, and we know we have to win.”
Central nearly put the Tigers away in five innings, but Owen Taylor clubbed a three-run home run down the right-field line to extend the game. Central answered back with five runs in the top of the sixth.
As the Warriors’ bats were churning out runs, Noah Sanchez hummed on the mound. The senior ace gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
With the win, Central now sits tied with Grand Junction (9-7, 4-3) behind Montrose in the SWL standings.
Grand Junction coach Donnie Alexander said the loss makes the final three regular-season games incredibly important.
During the second inning, Tiger left fielder Josh Moore and Taylor, playing shortstop, collided on a fly ball in fair territory. Taylor ranged near the foul line past the left field bullpen and slammed into Moore with an audible thud as the ball fell to the ground untouched.
Moore was down for about five minutes before being helped off the field. Alexander said Moore underwent a concussion test in the dugout and suffered some bruises. Moore’s status for Friday’s game against Cortez is questionable, Alexander said.
Moore is the Tigers’ ace, leading the team in starts, strikeouts and wins.