Grand Junction Rockies recap, July 24, 2017
Great Falls 11, Grand Junction 1
Monday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 17-16, Great Falls 12-22
Put me in, coach
As the Rockies were finishing their pregame stretching routine, starting third baseman Alan Trejo’s right ankle buckled, and he hobbled into the dugout. After getting the ankle taped, he did some agility drills to show he was ready to play.
The first hitter, Logan Taylor, lined the ball to third and Trejo made a leaping catch, coming down on his right leg.
“I was trying to make it seem like it didn’t bother me. I don’t know how well I did with that, but I tried to get through the game,” Trejo said.
He scored the Rockies’ only run, leading off the third inning with a base hit, advancing on a sacrifice bunt and scoring on a single to left by Pedro Gonzalez.
The Voyagers came into Suplizio Field hitting only .260 as a team, the worst average in the Pioneer League. Great Falls has scored a league-low 4.8 runs per game, but you’d never know that from Monday’s 14-hit, 11-run performance.
Only second baseman David Cronin, the No. 8 hitter, failed to get a hit for Great Falls. The Voyagers hit .325 in the game, 14 for 43. Grand Junction, third in the league with a .300 team batting average, hit only .242 (8-33). The Rockies committed four errors, all of them leading to Great Falls runs.
At the plate
Gonzalez singled in each of his first three at-bats and finished 3 for 4. Casey Golden and Trejo each had two hits.
Grand Junction went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and missed a couple of chances to score in the first two innings. After Trejo scored in the third, Great Falls starter Adam Panayotovich retired 10 of 11 batters from the third through sixth innings, starting with Ryan Vilade grounding into a double play to end the third.
“I’m not going to take anything away from their guy, but we weren’t the way we normally compete,” GJ manager Frank Gonzales said. “Lee (hitting coach Lee Stevens) is pretty frustrated by it right now. We’re going to have to turn this ship around and get it going the other direction.”
On the bases
Shael Mendoza is closing in on the club stolen base record of 24, set last season by Manuel Melendez. Mendoza has 19 to lead the Pioneer League. He did not reach base Monday.
Building for second half
With Orem clinching the first-half title in the South Division, Grand Junction needs to get back to playing well and building to make a run at the second-half title and make the playoffs.
“Absolutely. (Great Falls) is a team we feel we match up pretty well with,” Gonzales said. “They’re professionals, they get a vote in the matter. They show up and play, they’ll get you any night. Confidence is a big part of what we do out here. Anybody gets a little confidence, they can play.”
Around the diamond
The Rockies will finish the first half with a winning record against the North Division. With two games remaining against Great Falls, the Rockies are 9-3, the best record in interdivision play. The second half of the season begins Saturday, in the middle of a four-game South Division series at Ogden. ... The Pioneer League will announce its mid-season All-Stars this afternoon. Those selected will play the Northwest League All-Stars on Aug. 1 in Hillsboro, Oregon. ... Left-hander Lucas Gilbreath was selected the Pioneer League pitcher of the week after picking up his first professional victory on Saturday, defeating Billings 5-1. The Rockies’ seventh-round draft pick out of the University of Minnesota, who attended Legacy High School, threw five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.
Great Falls at Grand Junction, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Anderson Amarista, GJ (2-0, 6.39 ERA) vs. Kyle Von Ruden, GF (1-1, 4.98 ERA)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel