Rain halts play, GJ’s momentum

Grand Junction pitcher Elisha Janke.

In the pouring rain, Grand Junction had the momentum and wanted to keep playing. Fruita Monument had nothing going its way and wanted the game halted.

It didn’t matter what either team wanted Thursday night in the Southwestern League softball showdown that will help determine whether one of the teams wins the title outright or the two will share the crown.

The umpires had the final say about stopping the game at Bergman Field, and they finally suspended play 10 batters into the bottom of the fourth inning.

That means the Tigers and Wildcats will finish the game today or Saturday, and when they resume play it will be with Grand Junction still at the plate, leading 6-1 with runners on first and second and one out.

All six of the Tigers’ runs came in the bottom of the fourth inning after leadoff hitter Kylie Burns struck out. The Wildcats didn’t record another out, in part because they committed three errors, and Grand Junction started hitting the ball after Fruita Monument starting pitcher Lauren Reed retired the first 10 batters.

Morgan Zanski started the outburst with a double over the center fielder’s head, and the inning might have ended when the next batter, Elisha Jahnke, hit a fly ball that was dropped by the center fielder. A catch could have started a double play, because Zanski was running on the play. Instead, she scored.

After a walk, Bree Baldwin tripled to left field, driving in two runs. Brittany Arcieri then singled to right field to score Baldwin. The next three batters reached base courtesy of a throwing error, a dropped third strike and a hit batter. Two more runs scored along the way.

Fruita coach Eddie Mort thought the call to stop play should have come several batters sooner and perhaps at the conclusion of the third inning.

Although the 6-1 lead is nice, the suspension halts the Tigers’ momentum.

“We still better show up and play because it’s far from over,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said.

The game is the league finale for Grand Junction (14-4, 7-2 SWL). Fruita (10-7, 7-1 SWL) has one more league game to play Saturday against Montrose.

School District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain said a decision about when to resume the game will be made today.


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