Rally ‘Cats: For second straight game, Fruita comes back to win at Fanning
One thing is for sure, the Fruita Monument High School baseball team is resilient.
For the second time in as many games, the Wildcats rallied from a big deficit to win in their final at-bat. This time, Fruita Monument overcame a potential run-rule loss to defeat Horizon 14-13 on Friday in the Bill Fanning Classic at Suplizio Field.
“I definitely didn’t think we’d win (Thursday’s) game, but today, I thought there was no chance,” Fruita senior Jace Griffiths said. “We battled. It was definitely a group effort all the way around.”
The Wildcats (2-0), who had to rally from a 9-1 deficit to defeat Fossil Ridge on Thursday, rallied from a 13-2 deficit against Horizon (0-2).
“We got no breaks early,” Fruita coach Ray McLennan said. “Baseball is a funny game. I always tell these guys, if you can hang in there long enough things turn around. I kept waiting for it to turn around and it didn’t until that seventh inning when we caught a break.”
Horizon built a 6-0 lead in two innings and took advantage of two Fruita errors in the fourth to score seven unearned runs for a 13-2 lead. Corbin Kildow’s grand slam was the big blow in the inning.
Fruita chipped away at the deficit with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Ryan Blair led off with a triple off the wall and scored on a Griffiths double. After a walk, Drew Bridges tripled home two runs and scored on a double-play grounder.
The next inning, Griffiths hit a 410-foot, three-run home run off the relief pitcher who got the Hawks out of trouble in the fourth. That got the Wildcats within four runs, 13-9.
“The pitcher they brought in was throwing first-pitch strikes to everybody,” Griffiths said. “I went up there with the mind-set I’d sit on one. Fortunately it worked out for me.”
Dallin Wright followed Griffiths’ blast with a triple and trotted home on Bridges’ home run over the left-field wall. The Wildcats trailed by two, 13-11.
Fruita trailed by the same margin entering its final at-bat, but no one seemed too concerned.
Griffiths led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and Wright homered to left to tie the game.
“I was thinking I need to get on base and let the next man do his job,” Wright said. “He threw me a pitch I could handle and I hit it out.”
Bridges reached on an error. One out later, Levi Kramer singled.
Horizon made a pitching change, but to no avail.
Bridges and Kramer advanced on a balk when Horizon pitcher Jayden Fullerton failed to stop in his windup.
Four pitches later, Bridges scored the winning run when Fullerton’s wild pitch hit the backstop.
For Wright, the home run was a relief after taking the mound to start the game and giving up five earned runs in three innings.
“I was trying come out with the mindset we need to get the lead on them, but they got it,” Wright said. “I tried to keep us in it.”
Doran Wood shut out the Hawks in the final three innings to pick up the victory.