Hot bats lead Fruita to victory over Tigers
The Colorado Mesa University marching band practicing beyond the outfield fence at Bergman Field only intensified the rivalry atmosphere Thursday night.
But those are the kind of environments Fruita Monument softball coach Stephanie Williams said her team thrives in and the Wildcats showed it in a 13-6 victory over Grand Junction.
The noise of fans mixed with the blaring of horns and the beating of drums to create a wild setting where even shouts could be drowned out. The Wildcats (7-6, 2-1 Southwestern League) went up early and held off a late rally from Tigers (4-7, 0-2).
“I don’t consider those distractions,” Williams said. “I consider those things of excitement and it gets our girls going out there. It was a fun game. It was a thrill, an absolute thrill.”
Grand Junction manufactured two runs in the top of the first inning, spurred by some solid base running from Camryn Sanchez. Fruita responded in the bottom of the inning, starting with two infield singles. Once the Wildcats loaded the bases with one out, three singles and a double from Kelli Decrow resulted in a five-run rally.
An error in the bottom of the second inning brought in another run for Fruita, then a two-run home run from Brandi Haller in the third inning gave the Wildcats an 8-2 advantage.
“I got a couple good cuts at the beginning,” Haller said. “Then I got a pretty pitch and it felt solid through the whole thing. Just kinda went with it.”
Fruita pitcher Taylor Laing had runners on base in the third and fourth innings but battled through without allowing a run.
Williams credited Laing’s toughness, especially considering the environment, and added the defense was solid throughout the game.
“Her defense backed her up tonight and she needed that,” Williams said. “She’s pitched well in some games this season where the defense wasn’t as great, but it all came together tonight. I’ll take it.”
Fruita pushed the lead to 10-2 through four innings before two Grand Junction runs scored on a wild pitch in the fifth. The Wildcats bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the inning and limited the Tigers’ offensive output to Megan Rubalcaba’s two-run home run in the sixth.
Central 11, Montrose 0: The Warriors (10-2-1, 2-0 SWL) pounded out six doubles and Melissa Gellermann threw a complete game one-hitter to top the Indians (5-8, 0-2).
Gellermann had 14 strikeouts and only one walk. The senior has 84 strikeouts in 61 innings pitched this season.
Fruita Monument led three tight games to sweep Lakewood 25-21, 25-17, 25-23. The Wildcats (6-4) have won five of their past six matches after starting the season 1-3.
Coal Ridge (5-0) dominated throughout in a 10-1 win over Central (0-6) at Long Family Park.