Josey’s big bat has been a big help for Palisade
The “Outlaw” Riley Josey lives by his bat and is an army of one.
The Palisade baseball player picked up the nickname from Bulldogs’ coach Steve Moore, referring to the Clint Eastwood movie, “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”
Josey Wales was out for revenge. Riley Josey only has ill will toward pitched baseballs.
Josey has been one of the best power hitters to come through the Bulldogs’ program in quite some time.
“Riley has a ton of talent, and can really hit the ball,” Moore said. “His ball really flies off the bat, and he has really good mechanics.”
Josey is in his first year with the Bulldogs’ baseball program, transferring from Fruita Monument because of a family decision. The 6-foot-5 first baseman was a nice addition to a
Palisade program that had some holes entering the season. Bulldogs senior center fielder Jake Appling said Josey was a pleasant surprise.
“We played summer ball without him, and we thought we would be hurting at a few positions,” Appling said. “He came in and filled in the position perfectly. He always plays hard, works his butt off, and isn’t afraid of competition.”
Josey played mostly on the junior varsity at Fruita and has thrived in his first full varsity season. Josey is batting fifth for the Bulldogs, hitting .400 with 14 RBI. He has hit the
Bulldogs’ only two home runs this season and has a .500 on-base percentage. He has also been solid in the field, with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
“I’m having a fairly good season,” Josey said. “I started a little slow, but since then I’ve picked it up, and been hitting well and playing good defense.”
What has impressed Moore the most is how easily Josey took to the third-year coach’s philosophy of old-school baseball. Moore said he preaches to the players about not being afraid to get dirty.
“I want the kids to play hard-nosed baseball,” Moore said. “Get hit by pitches, dive for ground balls, and have a killer instinct where, if you get a couple of runs, you keep pounding teams.”
Josey said it was easy to adjust to that style of play.
“To me it means we make the routine plays we have to make, and not try to look flashy,”
Josey said. “I love it that way, it’s the easiest way, and the most efficient way to do it.”
Josey hopes the solid senior season he has put together can carry him to the next level.
Moore said Josey has all the needed tools to play college baseball, but also room for improvement.
“With the way he hits the ball, I think he can go to the next level,” Moore said. “His big problem is pitch selection, and once he figures that out, his average will soar, just because he hits with power.”
Josey has been in contact with junior colleges and NCAA Division II schools in Texas,
California and Arizona. Josey also played basketball for the Bulldogs, but baseball is his first love.
“I have played it my whole life and I can’t drag myself away from it,” Josey said. “It’s just fun.”