Fruita overcomes theft of equipment to win in N.M. tourney

Fruita Monument High School baseball coach Ray McLennan had a few extra challenges Friday than just playing Valencia High School, a good Class 5A team in New Mexico.

The Wildcats’ bus was broken into sometime overnight, and several players lost their gloves and cleats.

“When we subbed kids they had to borrow gloves and cleats,” McLennan said after the Wildcats beat Valencia 6-4 in the Piedra Vista Tournament. “There were times we were talking about how we couldn’t pinch-hit a kid because we didn’t have the right-sized shoes. We used three pitchers, but we had to have the right cleats to go in. It was the weirdest game I’ve ever been a part of, but the kids persevered through it.”

The Wildcats (5-2) scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie. Sam Graf doubled with one out and Grant Stagg tripled to plate the go-ahead run. Gabe Treider laid down a squeeze bunt to get Stagg home with an insurance run, and the Wildcats turned the game over to relief pitcher Sam Schroeder, who struck out three of the four batters he faced.

“It’s a different game,” McLennan said of the wood-bat tournament. “We had five sacrifices, one was a sac fly, but we had four sac bunts and scored on almost every one of them, moved guys over and then drove them in. You have to play small ball and move runners over, take advantage of scoring opportunities and play good defense.”

Fruita plays Farmington at 11:30 this morning, and McLennan was trying to make sure he had enough gloves and cleats to go around.

“They took the (equipment) bags out, and we found some stuff down by the river by the hotel,” he said. “Some of the jackets and sweatshirts, caps, stuff that had Fruita Monument on them. They took the bats, $300, $400 bats, and gloves and cleats. We’re scrambling to get cleats for tomorrow. It’s some adversity, but sometimes that brings you closer together as a team.”

Montrose 2, Valor Christian 1: Pitcher Tyrus Lopez was masterful in a complete-game performance to lead the Indians, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A by CHSAANow.com, to the win over top-ranked Valor Christian.

Lopez limited the Eagles (3-1) to two hits and had 11 strikeouts and only one walk over the seven innings.

Montrose (5-0) got a run in the third when Kam DeVincentis had an RBI single. After Valor tied it at 1-1 in the fourth, the Indians took the lead in the sixth when Josh Robertson doubled and scored on a single by Jake Bradburn.

Grand Junction 5, Doherty 1: Ty Dixon pitched six strong innings for the Tigers, who scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-0 lead.

Doherty got its run in the seventh off Dixon, who then yielded to reliever Caleb Coleman, who gave up a hit but no walks, and he struck out two. Dixon scattered three hits and three walks, and Grand Junction coach Donnie Alexander said, “Ty Dixon pitched fantastic.”

Dillon Fante and Max Fransen had two hits apiece for the Tigers (4-2), and Anthony Johnson joined Fante with two RBI and a sacrifice.


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