Taylor’s Watson making most of baseball experience despite traveling from Delta
Austin Watson wants to make his summer baseball experience worth all those miles he’s driving.
Friday at Canyon View Park, the 2010 Delta High School graduate hit an RBI double to give the Gene Taylor’s American Legion baseball team a 6-5 win over the Monarch/Brighton MoDogs.
“It’s a great feeling to come through in the clutch,” Watson said. “I knew I had to get it into play and at least advance the runners.”
Watson finished 2 for 4 with a double and a triple and drove in two runs.
“I think I’ve been hitting the ball well,” Watson said. “But I know I can still do a lot better.”
Watson was a first-team All-Western Slope selection for the Panthers and has committed to play for Lamar Community College in the fall.
The 6-foot-2 left-hander, who pitches, plays first base and was Taylor’s designated hitter Friday, wanted to see good competition before going to Lamar. To do that, he’s been making the nearly 80-mile round trip for all of Taylor’s practices and home games.
“I needed the time to get ready for college and I knew I would see more competition up here,” Watson said. “It’s been great being able to play a lot, and I think it’s helping me get more prepared.”
Watson was the only player on the Taylor’s roster Friday who didn’t attend a District 51 high school.
“I was nervous at first, but they’ve embraced me quickly and made me part of the team,” Watson said. “Plus, there is a lot of talent on this team, more talent than I’ve ever seen on one team.”
Taylor’s coach Blaine Bernades said Watson has been an important part to the team’s success.
“He’s a kid where he listened and made adjustments and it’s been paying off for him,” Bernades said. “He’s starting to swing the bat really well, and he’s one of our better arms.”
Watson is scheduled to start on the mound for Gene Taylor’s at 11 this morning against Monarch/Brighton at Canyon View Park.
Pitcher Stephen Baldwin helped set up Friday’s win.
Baldwin cruised through the first five innings, allowing only one hit and facing only 12 batters.
“My approach was I wanted to get out of innings quickly,” Baldwin said. “I knew this was a good fastball hitting team so I had to keep them off-balance.”
Baldwin got run support in the second inning when TJ Pollock scored on Cody Rahmann’s groundout for a 2-0 lead.
The MoDogs finally got to Baldwin in the sixth inning, loading the bases with no outs. Charlie Reicks replaced Baldwin and got out of the jam by forcing a double play and then striking out Noah Coleman.
Taylor’s added three runs in the sixth inning, including an RBI single by Scott Clow for a 5-0 lead.
The MoDogs fought their way back in the top of the seventh by scoring five runs, but Watson’s timely hitting secured the win for Taylor’s.
After a seven-game losing streak to open the summer, Taylor’s has won its past six games.
“Once we got our first win, that helped us get rolling,” Bernades said. “Now we have to keep that going by just executing.”