Grand Junction Rockies recap, July 8, 2017
Grand Junction 9, Ogden 8
Saturday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 7-13, Ogden 10-10
Walk it off
Everyone at Suplizio Field thought it had a chance to go out, but Alan Trejo wasn’t taking any chances, sprinting down the line. It’s a good thing he did, because the ball hit the right-field wall and Trejo was running full speed, wheeling into third base with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the ninth. Shael Mendoza lifted a fly ball to left field, and Trejo scored on the sacrifice fly without a throw when left fielder Starling Heredia dropped the ball, giving the Rockies their second straight win.
“I hit one (home run) earlier tonight and I definitely thought it had a chance, but I wasn’t going to jog down to first,” Trejo said. “Luckily I was able to get a triple and put us in a good situation to score on a fly ball.
“I didn’t even see him drop the ball. I was relying on (manager Frank Gonzales) and he said go. It was shallow, so I was trusting him and it worked out.”
After falling behind 8-7, Ramon Marcelino hit a 391-foot home run to right field to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth and set up the thrilling ending, which left both Trejo and Mendoza wet from the traditional splashing with the water buckets.
Two by two
The first six runs the Rockies scored all came on two-run home runs. Ryan Vilade, the Rockies’ second-round draft pick, hit his third home run of the season and first at Suplizio Field in the first inning, scoring Mendoza, who led off with a single and stole second. After Chad Spanberger singled to center, Casey Golden put one out onto the Lincoln Park Golf Course for a 4-0 lead.
Hidekel Gonzalez punched a double down the left-field line with two out in the fourth and came home on Trejo’s first home run as a professional, to right-center.
“We’re squaring it up,” Gonzales said. “One or two hiccups here and there and the game’s not that close.”
The Raptors employed an infield shift against Spanberger, the Rockies’ cleanup hitter. Second baseman Kevin LaChance played shallow right field, with shortstop Moises Perez moving to second base, shaded up the middle, with third baseman Brock Carpenter playing at short. The move never worked against the big left-handed hitter, who beat it with a pair of singles to center field in his first two at-bats, then crushed a massive home run over the scoreboard, measured at 469 feet, the longest home run at Suplizio Field this season.
“Really?” Spanberger said when told how deep the ball went, as Trejo burst out laughing at the big number. “Nice. It was out there. We had what, 11 hits, five home runs? That’s nice.”
Spanberger faced a shift at the University of Arkansas, but nothing as drastic as the Raptors employed.
“It wasn’t that extreme,” he said. “At least in college there was somewhat a third baseman. There was no third baseman (Saturday). I could have laid down four bunts tonight and had a hit every time. I just stayed up the middle, trust it.”
On the mound
That “thud” you heard was a line drive hitting the left foot of Grand Junction reliever Hunter Williams in the sixth inning. Williams, the third Rockies pitcher of the night, tried to hobble after the ball, but went down to a knee as Moises Perez reached on the infield single. He tried to walk it off, but was limping badly as he went to the dugout and was put in a walking boot as a precaution. Gonzales said Williams will have an X-ray to make sure nothing is broken.
Colton Hathcock relieved him and ended the inning catching a line drive back to the mound. Jorge Oviedo also caught a line drive on the mound, starting an inning-ending double play in the fourth.
Starter Lucas Gilbreath threw 4 1/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits. He walked one and struck out two. Tommy Doyle gave up three runs in the eighth, inheriting a 7-5 lead but after the eighth the Rockies trailed 8-7.
“I like the way we started the game. Gilbreath was more settled in than last time. Oviedo got hurt with a couple of balls up,” Gonzales said. “He doesn’t have a lot of (velocity) so he’s got to be down. Late in the game we didn’t execute the way we wanted to and Doyle got hit around a little bit, but that’s part of the game. We’ve got to come back as a club and we did.”
Ogden at Grand Junction, 5 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: TBA, GJ vs. Carlos Felix, Ogden (1-1, 3.45 ERA)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
They said it
“I think slowly we’re changing the culture around here. We’re tired of being that last-place team that everyone comes and expects to roll over. We’re tired of that and I think teams see that now. We’re gritty. We’re not gonna not fight back.” — Alan Trejo
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel