GJ remains undefeated in spite of subpar play

GJHS Shortstop Tim Gastineau at bat

For the Grand Junction High School baseball team, it was a game with too many walks, missed opportunities and overall shaky play.

However, it was a win.

Grand Junction (8-0, 2-0 SWL) overcame an early 2-0 deficit Saturday to defeat Montezuma-Cortez 7-6 at Canyon View Park.

“Not very good,” the Tigers’ Geoff Baldwin said. “We didn’t execute, missed some plays we should have made and we didn’t play to our full potential, but it’s good to win these one-run games.”

Continuing what has been a trend all season for the Tigers, Grand Junction did what it had to do to win. Against a Panthers team that entered 9-1, the Tigers responded to falling behind early by clawing back with a three-run third inning.

After an RBI double by Jayke Brock, Baldwin hit his seventh home run of the season to give Grand Junction a 4-2 lead.

“I didn’t get that much of it, but I thought it might go out,” Baldwin said. “It wasn’t one of my deeper ones but I will take a home run any day, especially if it is going to put us up.”

In the fourth, Cortez responded with three runs of its own on RBI singles by Breen McComb and Ryan Green. The Panthers’ big inning was helped along by three walks.

Grand Junction pitchers Garrick Lemley and Charlie Reicks walked a total of eight batters.

Five of the eight scored.

“When you walk a guy, they are going to score,” Grand Junction coach Kyle Rush said.

“That is why it was a ballgame. We scattered their hits, but as far as us throwing strikes early in the count and finishing hitters, we didn’t do that.”

The big inning gave Cortez a 5-4 lead, which Grand Junction took right back with a three-run fourth, highlighted by a two-run single by Tim Gastineau that scored Ty Nielsen and Andy Willett.

“We put up the three-spot. then gave up a three-spot,” Rush said. “That is where you have to shut them down, but we answered and got hits at the right time.”

Reicks struggled at times but got outs when it counted and earned his second win of the year throwing 32/3 innings, finishing with two strikeouts and four walks. Baldwin finished the game, striking out three of the four men he faced.

“This is what I wanted to do pitching this year,” Baldwin said. “I am going to continue to do my job.”

Offensively, the Tigers were led by Baldwin’s 2-for-3 day. Nielsen went 2 for 3 with two singles and one RBI from the No. 8 spot in the lineup.

Cortez was paced by McComb, who went 3 for 4 with three RBI.

“We had to battle today and we are happy to come away with a win again,” Rush said. “This league is tough no matter where you play.”

Grand Junction faces rival Fruita Monument on Tuesday at Suplizio Field.

“We really haven’t talked about Fruita because we knew we couldn’t look past Durango and Cortez,” Rush said. “So really, we have two days to focus before Fruita, but it is here and the guys will be ready to go.”


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