Fruita stays hot at the plate, ripping 10 hits vs. Central
When it comes to momentum, the baseball teams from Fruita Monument and Central high schools are going in different directions.
The Wildcats (8-4, 3-1 Southwestern League) are coming off of scoring 36 runs against Montezuma-Cortez last Friday, and kept the bats just as hot Wednesday night at Suplizio Field, defeating Central 10-0 in five innings.
“The guys are swinging the bats well,” Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said. “I thought we might have a lineup like this at the beginning of the season, so it’s nice to see us come out and do some things.”
On the other side of the diamond is a Central team (7-6, 0-4 SWL) searching for its first league win. The Warriors have dropped their first four, and against the Wildcats couldn’t find consistency anywhere.
“We have to grow up sometime,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “Thirteen games into the season, you have to stop making mental mistakes. It’s time to stop hiding behind inexperience and start playing baseball.”
Central starting pitcher John Woods did all he could to keep the Wildcats off balance, but Fruita was locked in and came up with 10 hits.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when TJ Pollock scored on a passed ball and Brackett Mays hit a solo home run to left field.
Central looked to get something going in the second when the Warriors’ first two batters, Aaron Reece and Joe Smith, hit back-to-back singles. Fruita starter Rex Clemons retired the next two batters on fielder’s choices and got Kyle Brown to ground to third.
“Rex was good today,” McLennan said. “He pitched his way out of a jam in the second, and I think momentum was big there, because if they score, it’s a whole different ballgame.”
The Wildcats made their next offensive push in the third inning when Pollock led off with a triple. Alex Mende drove him home.
McLennan said the Wildcats have improved their hitting with runners in scoring position.
“We’re doing a lot better with situational hitting,” McLennan said. “We are working hard on things we can control.”
Central threatened again in the fourth inning but a base running mistake allowed Fruita to get out of the inning. In the bottom half of the inning, the Wildcats broke the game open, scoring six runs.
Cody Rahmann and Clemons both hit RBI doubles in the big inning. Pollock led the Wildcats by going 3 for 3 and scoring three runs.
Rahmann took the mound in the fifth for the Wildcats and, despite allowing the first two batters to reach base, had strong defense behind him to end the game.
The Warriors stranded six runners against Fruita.
“It was everything today,” Yost said. “Stranding runners, not making good pitches, errors in the field, you name it.”
Central has this weekend off but will make up its game against Montezuma-Cortez on Tuesday. Fruita will also take a trip to the Four Corners that day to face Durango.
“I think it will be a huge test for us,” Pollock said. “We have to wake up early to travel down there and come back the same night. Depending on what Grand Junction does down there this weekend, it’s a must win.”