Fruita pitcher Morrill throws perfect game against Montrose
It was a perfect day for baseball, then Trey Morrill went out and proved it.
The lanky right-hander for Fruita Monument (12-4, 5-0 Southwestern League) mowed down every hitter he faced and finished with a five-inning perfect game to lead the Wildcats to a 10-0 victory over Montrose (9-5, 1-2 SWL).
Morrill finished with seven strikeouts, only had one three-ball count and never allowed a ball to leave the infield.
“I kind of woke up today thinking this is going to be a great day,” Morrill said. “I didn’t necessarily think pitching or hitting, I just came out with a positive attitude, and attacked the zone.
“I threw my fastball mostly, but I used my slider as my out pitch,” he added.
Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said Morrill was in total command.
“I thought he had good stuff, he was throwing hard and established the strike zone early,” he said. “He really did a nice job attacking hitters. He threw strikes and was up in counts all the time.”
McLennan knew his pitcher was flirting with a no-hitter but he made sure he stuck to those unspoken superstitious baseball rules.
“I thought about it, but I sure didn’t say anything, there was no talk about it in (the dugout),” he said with a smile. “We know what happens when we do that, so I wasn’t going to say anything.”
Morrill’s perfect day wasn’t just on the mound, which included snagging two comebackers. He had quite a day at the plate, too.
The junior went 2 for 2 with a walk, had two RBI and scored three runs.
In the first inning, Morrill ripped a triple to right-center field that scored two before he came in on a single by Kohl Hagee. In the third, Morrill drilled a pitch to nearly the same spot in right-center and hustled into third for his second triple, then trotted home when the throw got away.
Offensively, the Wildcats were solid throughout the lineup with seven players getting at least one hit in the 13-hit attack.
Fruita upped the lead to 6-0 with three in the third. Tyler Tuell doubled off the right-field wall to score one, and Canon Kreidler followed with a single to score Tuell.
Morrill’s final out on the mound was the hardest hit ball of the day for Montrose when Tristan Church laced a line drive right at shortstop Zach Rush, who snared the shot.
Leading 7-0, the Wildcats went to their bench to get the final three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Tuell walked and Kreidler singled, then they both scored when pinch-hitter Zach Coutts lined a double to push the score 9-0.
Coutts moved to third base later on an error, which brought Morrill to the plate.
Morrill didn’t get the chance to cap his big day with a game-winning RBI when Coutts scampered home on a wild pitch to end the game.
That was fine with Morrill.
“We got the ‘dub’ and that’s all that matters right now,” he said about the win. “As long as we keep getting the W, good things are going to happen for us.”
Montrose suffered a tough break in the first when junior shortstop Jared Miller was injured trying to beat out a ground ball.
Rush’s throw was high and off the bag and Kohl Hagee made a nice catch to get the out, but he collided with Miller in the process. Miller left the game with what looked like a knee injury.
“They’re a good team. It was tough to see Jared Miller go down, he’s a good player and a good person,” Morrill said.
The Wildcats have been on a roll lately, and that concerned McLennan.
“I was actually worried about today. With the two weeks we’ve had, we had a lot of excitement and we spent a lot of energy, and sometimes young teams ride a roller coaster,” he said. “I thought we did a good job of being consistent today.”
The Wildcats remain unbeaten in SWL play and finish the regular season with a rematch at Montrose on Friday and two games in Durango next week.