Central senior pitcher impressive in victory over Wildcats
Alex Kitzman knew he’d get another opportunity to pitch in a league rivalry game.
The Central High School senior wasn’t going to disappoint his teammates and coaches again.
Kitzman struck out 11 in an 8-2 complete-game win Tuesday over Fruita Monument at Suplizio Field.
“After the Junction game (last week), I thought about our loss and figured I’ll get the ball again,” Kitzman said. “I have a chance for revenge, but on Fruita this time. I pounded the strike zone like I always try to do.”
He allowed two earned runs on six hits and four walks.
“He’s just a quiet kid. He’s kind of a no nonsense kid,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “He’s pretty serious about baseball and what he does on the field.”
Central (8-3, 1-1 Southwestern League) had a golden opportunity to give Kitzman an early lead in the second, but had runners thrown out at third base and home plate on back-to-back plays.
Fruita Monument (9-4, 3-1 SWL) scored first when Drew Bridges hit his third home run in as many games, a blast to the back of the left-field bleachers.
“He’s pitched long enough to know,” Yost said of Kitzman. “Bottom line was we’re going to have to score runs to win anyway. A solo home run shouldn’t beat you. He stayed composed and had faith in his teammates they were going to come through for them.”
Dallin Wright singled and scored later in the inning for a 2-0 Fruita lead. Kitzman kept battling and was rewarded when Central scored four runs in the fifth inning.
With two on and one out in the fifth, Central’s Aaron Reece singled. Derek DiThomas scored and Tanner Reid scored after Fruita catcher Evan McDermott overthrew third baseman Dallin Wright trying to get Reid at third. Reece ended up at third on the play.
One walk and one pitching change later, Kyle Serrano beat out a double play ball, allowing Reece to score for a 3-2 lead. Serrano scored on Taylor Haynie’s single.
“We finally got the bat on the ball hard with runners in scoring position,” Yost said.
The Warriors added four runs in the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of hit batters and an errant throw on a sacrifice bunt. Reid added to the lead with a two-run triple.
“We could’ve been better (defensively),” Fruita coach Ray McLennan said. “I told our kids don’t hang your heads, those things happen. I don’t know if you take away those errors, they still beat us.”
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the fifth and seventh innings, but left the runners stranded. Fruita had nine runners left on base in the game.
“Kitzman’s good,” McLennan said. “He threw a great game tonight. He did enough good things to win it.
“I don’t know if he overpowered. He kept us off-balance. He’s a good pitcher. We almost got to him there, but it just didn’t happen.”