Palisade sweeps Moffat County
The Palisade High School baseball team is beginning to look like the team it thought it could be.
The Bulldogs (10-7, 9-5 Western Slope League) swept a doubleheader Monday against Moffat County at Canyon View Park, winning the first game 11-1 and the second 19-6.
The doubleheader with Moffat was a makeup series from April 11, which was the final of 10 canceled or postponed games for the Bulldogs. Once Palisade was able to get onto the field on a consistent basis, the Bulldogs finished the year 8-3 after a 2-4 start.
“In the long run, those rain- out games hurt us because we weren’t on the field,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “Now all of a sudden we are molding together as a team and hopefully we will peak into the playoffs.”
Palisade’s progression showed Monday as the Bulldogs scored a combined 30 runs and knocked a combined 21 hits. Bulldogs leadoff hitter Jake Appling led the way, going 4 for 5 with five runs in the two games. Tucker Barnes went 2 for 4 with four runs scored and sparked a big first inning in the second game with a two-run triple.
“I think we came ready to play today,” Barnes said. “We came into this game expecting to win.”
In both games, Palisade got off to big first-inning leads as the Bulldogs put up four in the first game and seven in the second. A key throughout both games was solid base running.
“We have been preaching aggressive but smart base running,” Moore said. “You are going to see us running the bags hard.”
The hard base-running is one of many improvements for the Bulldogs as they head into the playoffs. Palisade got timely hitting, including an RBI single from freshman Cole Cummings in a six-run fourth inning during game two.
“We are making things happen,” Moore said. “We are forcing the other team to make a play, and that’s what has been important. Earlier in the year, we would have the bases loaded and three guys would strike out. Now we are putting the ball into play.”
Palisade had a solid day at the plate, but also had two strong pitching performances. Mike Seriani gave up six hits in the first game, but allowed only one run. Freshman Caleb Hall threw three tough innings and Appling saw his first action on the mound after taking a few games off.
“Our pitchers are hitting their spots,” Moore said. “Caleb threw a good game, Seriani had a strong first game, and Appling hasn’t pitched in a while, so we threw him at the end.”
With the win, Palisade clinches third place in the Western Slope League. The Bulldogs find out their postseason fate Wednesday when the 4A districts are released.