Good birthday gift
Walker Williams gets victory for Wildcats on mom's birthday
It was a simple pop fly out, one of the game’s most routine happenings. But for two people at Canyon View Park during that final out in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday in Fruita Monument’s 10-6 win over Central, it was not the norm.
As the ball off the bat of Central’s Kyle Rowe sliced through the air, a female spectator behind the stands froze nervously as the right fielder tracked the ball with hazy vision.
Zac Griggs, the Fruita Monument right fielder, took two steps back. His right contact lens had relayed fuzzy images for weeks. Wind whipped his face, drying out his eyes. The sun, slouching on the horizon, seared his sunglasses.
Still, with a slight hop, Griggs made the catch above his head.
“I didn’t want another ball,” Griggs said. “But I was ready for it.”
Then there was Peggy Williams, mother of the player who made the pitch, Walker Williams. Behind the third-base stands, Peggy paced through jitters.
It was Peggy’s birthday, one of her many birthdays spent at a ballpark.
But none of that mattered as Griggs made the catch to get her son out of a jam with two runners on base and Fruita ahead, 9-6.
“Oh my God,” Peggy Williams said. “Scary.”
The Wildcat hitters had given Walker Williams, who entered the game for Doran Wood in the fourth, plenty of run support.
Matt Scofield finished 4 for 4 with two RBI.
Wyatt Vidmar was 3 for 4 with a single, double and triple.
Despite Fruita’s effective hitting, Peggy Williams could seldom relax, not even when her son faced Central’s final hitter in the bottom of the seventh.
“I don’t need him to be a hero,” Peggy Williams said. “I just don’t want him to be the goat.”
Walker Williams struck out Cole Rupe to end the game, keeping Fruita (11-6, 5-3 Southwestern League) in the playoff push.
“Against a good team you have to execute, and we didn’t,” said Central coach Chuck Yost, whose team had won six of seven before losing to Fruita.
The Warriors (11-6, 4-4), who had a 2-0 lead after the first inning, committed three errors.
Although Fruita did not score until the third inning, its bats were in tune to the pitches of Central starter Kyle Rowe from the beginning. Scofield, leading off the top of the first inning, hit an opposite-field, line-drive single.
Although Scofield didn’t score, the hit allowed him to bring a message back to the dugout.
“I just told my teammates how his fastball was,” Scofield said. “Not overpowering.”
Scofield said hitters and pitchers were dealing with a “college zone.” So with the smaller strike zone, hitters could be selective, waiting for their pitch.
Like with Vidmar’s fourth-inning, RBI double. The fastball away was good enough.
“I just took it the other way like I was supposed to,” Vidmar said.
The Wildcats played up a level, said coach Ray McLennan.
“There were at least five balls we hit hard that went right at (Central),” McLennan said. “They just did a good job with their approach. They played a very experienced game today.”
Glenwood Springs’ Lilly McFwain scored the game-winning goal in the Demons’ 2-1 win over visiting Palisade on Tuesday.
Flannery Davis scored for the Bulldogs (6-4, 5-2 4A Western Slope) on an assist from Aubrey Raymond-Stafford.
Aimee Basinski, Jamie Johnson and Katie Murphy won singles matches as Central defeated Montrose, 7-0.
Grand Junction 7, Aspen 0: Grand Junction’s Kylie Pond (No. 1 singles) and Nicky Arja (No. 2) gave up one game combined in winning their matches over Aspen.