Grand Junction batters get back on track with rout of Montrose

Sometimes things go completely your way for no apparent reason.

That was the case Tuesday night for the Grand Junction High School baseball team.

The Tigers, who were coming off a lopsided loss in Arizona last weekend, routed Montrose 16-0 victory in each team’s Southwestern League opener at Suplizio Field.

“It’s so humbling because we were on the exact opposite of that score four days ago,” Grand Junction coach Kyle Rush said. “Just like it got away from us, it got away from Montrose. They’ll be ready to go in two weeks when we play there, I’ll tell you that.”

Grand Junction batters were either drawing walks, getting shallow hits into the outfield or having the ball carry in the wind. Wind gusts were blowing to left field throughout the night.

“Everything went our way,” Rush said. “Even when we didn’t hit the ball well, we got hits. That’s why it’s so humbling because it’s the exact thing that happened to us. It was just one of those games. We were on the right side this time.”

Grand Junction (6-1, 1-0 SWL) racked up 13 hits against Montrose (5-2, 0-1 SWL) and Stephen Baldwin got back into a pitching groove.

The junior (3-0) allowed one hit, one walk and struck out six in four innings of work for the victory.

“Stephen just had a dead arm (last week),” Rush said. “He didn’t feel good. He had pop and control tonight. He looked good.”

Montrose starter, Zane Hemond (2-1), struggled, giving up seven earned runs on five hits and four walks in 2/3 of an inning, but there was nothing he could do about some of Grand Junction’s hits.

Andy Willett hit a ball that fell in to short right field for a hit in the first inning and scored the first run. Three batters later, Sean Rubalcaba came up with a two-out RBI double to prolong the inning.

“I’m getting a lot more confident at the plate,” Rubalcaba said. “I’m seeing a lot more pitches, and I have confidence in my swing.”

Tanner Peterson dropped a base hit into shallow right field to drive in Rubalcaba.

Hemond gave up two bases-loaded walks before he was pulled.

In the second inning, Grand Junction’s Hutton Veatch hit a fly ball to center field that kept drifting and fell in for a hit. Five runs would eventually score in the inning for a 12-0 lead.

“The wind blowing out was definitely messing with us and was hard to read off the bat,” Grand Junction outfielder Cory DeRush said. “You have to communicate well with your other outfielders because the wind’s bad, you can’t hear too much and you’ve got to be loud. You have to see the ball off the bat and pay attention.”

In the fourth, DeRush hit a fly ball to left field that carried over the wall for a two-run home run.

“I was just looking for my pitch,” DeRush said. “I hit it hard. It was really high and hoped it would stay fair and luckily it did.”

Montrose was limited to four hits in the game, all singles.


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