Rain suspends GJ Rockies’ game
Any fears of the Grand Junction Rockies’ offensive outburst against Missoula disappearing after a heavy rain storm were put to rest Tuesday night.
Grand Junction (22-23, 4-3 Pioneer League second half) entered the top of the fourth inning with a 9-3 lead at Suplizio Field, but a storm cell that left standing water on the field forced umpires to suspend the game. It will resume in the top of the fourth inning today at 4, with the regularly scheduled 6:40 p.m. series finale being reduced to seven innings.
The Rockies got off to a torrid start, sending eight batters to the plate in the first two innings en route to taking a 9-0 lead. There were concerns that the runs would be wiped out and the game would have to start over, but manager Frank Gonzales put everyone’s minds at ease.
“When we saw that coming in, we asked Frank what happens if the game gets rained out,” said Chad Spanberger, who had a single and a two-run home run in the first two innings. “Then he told us (about the suspension). That’s nice considering we have nine runs so far.”
Games are typically rescheduled as long as there’s an available day on the schedule. The Osprey (20-24, 1-5) aren’t scheduled to make another trip to Grand Junction this season but will play the Rockies in Missoula next week during Grand Junction’s seven-game road trip to Montana.
Even if Tuesday’s game — and stats — had been wiped out, none of GJ’s players would have worried about it.
“Even if that would have gotten erased, we would have come back with more runs later,” said Rockies right fielder Ramon Marcelino, who hit a three-run home run to cap Grand Junction’s five-run first inning.
The storm cell that passed through brought heavy winds and sheets of rain, sending fans scurrying for cover underneath Suplizio Field’s grandstands. After a standard 30-minute delay, standing water was still on many areas of the field, most notably in foul territory near the left-field foul line.
Players and game staffers found creative ways to pass the time. Rockies pitchers Tommy Doyle, Lucas Gilbreath and Mike Zimmerman juggled several baseballs back and fourth next to the first-base dugout when the rain subsided. Some staffers were playing baseball inside the press-booth hallway during the delay.
Marcelino played a big part in helping the Rockies take control early. His home run to right field with two outs in the first inning landed three rows deep in the parking lot and staked Grand Junction to a 5-0 lead. Spanberger’s two-run shot was part of GJ’s four-run second inning. When the winds kicked up to blow in the rain in the top of the third, Missoula’s Joey Rose hit a three-run home run off the top row of the left-field bleachers to get Missoula on the board.
The rain came not long afterward, forcing everyone to duck and cover.
“Yeah, it gets a little cramped inside those dugouts,” Spanberger said with a smile.