Delay bothers ‘Cats in loss
After hail falls, errors hurt Fruita Monument vs. Uintah
During the bottom of the second inning Wednesday evening, hail began falling, and thunder sounded at Canyon View Park.
The Fruita Monument baseball team appeared unaffected after the half-hour delay and pieced together two runs in the bottom of the third to lead Uintah (Utah) 3-2, but then it lost all of its momentum.
The Wildcats gave up five runs in the top of the fourth inning and four runs in the top of the fifth as they fell to the Utes 11-3 in a nonleague game.
Conner Cronkhite was saddled with the loss, giving up seven runs, only three earned, on six hits.
In total, Fruita Monument (5-3) committed six errors.
“Cronkhite usually is pretty good up there, and he kind of lost it that inning,” Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said. “We made a few errors, and that didn’t help, either. I think we ended up having three errors that inning, which is not typical of us. It was tough to play in those conditions, but that’s not an excuse. Their balls seemed to find spots, and ours didn’t, but we have to be tough enough to compete through that stuff, and that didn’t happen today.
“We tell our pitchers, ‘You get strikes, we’ll get outs,’ and we’ve been very good defensively all season. But that’s the most errors we’ve had in a game this season, period. Some of that was playing in the conditions we played in, and some of that was not being mentally ready to go.”
Sam Graf led the Wildcats offensively, going 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI. McLennan said Graf and Cuba Bess have come on strong early in the season, adding, “We know we can hit one through nine.”
The Wildcats have played four straight games against out-of-state opponents with a 1-3 record in that stretch. McClennan said the arduous nonleague schedule prepares the Wildcats for Southwestern League play.
“We always want to play the best teams we can. I feel like our schedule has done that,” McLennan said. “It’s tough. There are no slouches on our schedule. You go down to Farmington (N.M.) and play three good teams there. You come back and play Uintah, and they’re a good club. When I asked (Fruita Monument Athletic Director Denny) Squibb to create our schedule, we say to get the best teams we can.
“We’re going to play Columbine in a week, and they’re a top-10 team. We feel like we’re ready to be a very good baseball team, so we want to play the best competition we can. I like that, because we’re playing top-notch competition, and we’re making progress even though we’re a young team.”
Central 11, Pueblo South 9: The Warriors remain undefeated in nonleague play with a win over the Colts.