Opportunistic Wildcats finish third in N.M. tournament

The Fruita Monument High School baseball team didn’t always cash in with the big hit, but the Wildcats were opportunistic in other ways Saturday. Amassing seven runs on only five hits, the Wildcats edged Durango 7-6 in the Piedra Vista Invitational tournament’s third-place game.

“We were pretty opportunistic,” conceded Fruita coach Ray McLennan, whose team drew four walks. “It was one of those games. It was bitter cold — 30 degrees with wind. I bet the wind chill was about 20 degrees. It was a tough day to play baseball.”

But the Wildcats made it work, building a 5-0 lead after two innings and then withstanding a late Durango rally. The Demons scored two runs in the fifth inning and four in the sixth before winning pitcher Kale Smith took the mound and guided Fruita out of a jam in the sixth.

Ty Burtard’s 3-for-3 day led the Wildcats (5-4). Casey Mays was 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

Fruita had chances to put the game away, none better than a bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning when a line drive to center field was snared, resulting in a double play.

“Baseball’s a funny game,” said McLennan, whose squad concluded the tournament with a 2-1 record.

■ Rifle’s doubleheader Saturday with visiting Steamboat Springs was rescheduled to Monday at 4 p.m., though the teams will play only a single game.


Leah Swander somehow nudged the ball over to her teammate. Courtney Barger did the rest, burying a shot in the upper corner in the 38th minute that lifted Grand Junction to a 1-0 win at Durango.

“Leah looked like she got fouled just outside the 18, but she just touched it off to Courtney,” said Tigers coach Joe Graham, whose defense shut the Demons down in the second half.

Goalkeeper Guadalupe Torres made seven saves in a shutout effort for Grand Junction (2-2-1, 1-0-1).

Fruita Monument 2, Montezuma-Cortez 0: Jordan Padgett scored in the first half, and Sarah Mercer added some insurance with a second-half tally to lift Fruita Monument to the win at Montezuma-Cortez.

The Wildcats dominated possession and racked up 26 shots to the Panthers’ four. They also took 17 shots on goal on a cold, windy day in Cortez.


Luke Dohm’s four goals helped Grand Junction to a 12-4 win at Eagle Valley.

Kris States and Paul Dohm added two goals apiece, and Stephen Foster, Marques Combs, Jake Knight and Riley Davis-McDougal also found net for the Tigers. Scott Foster finished with four assists and Combs two.


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