Small goes big
Bunt gets big inning started for Fruita in win over Central
Matt Scofield got the green light and went for it.
The Fruita Monument High School senior put down a bunt with two out in the fourth inning Wednesday afternoon in a Southwestern League rivalry baseball game against Central at Canyon View Park.
Scofield beat out the bunt, and one batter later, he and Logan McLennan scored on Drew Bridges’ triple to the right-center field gap, giving the Wildcats (5-4, 2-1 SWL) the cushion they needed in a 4-1 victory.
“We noticed the third baseman playing way back,” Scofield said. “There was no way he could field the ball (and get the out at first). We’ve been working on bunts for hits quite a bit in practice. Coach gave me the green light to lay it down. It worked out.
“It was awesome. I put it down and landed in a sprinter’s start. I was ready to run up the line. Sometimes you stumble out of the box, but I came out clean.”
With the rule change in bat specifications, Fruita coach Ray McLennan figured his leadoff hitter had as good of a chance beating out a bunt as getting a base hit.
“With these BBCOR bats, you’ve got to produce runs,” McLennan said. “You’ve got to do the fundamental things if you’re going to win. It’s got to be nickel and dime, play a base here, play a base there.”
Central (5-3, 1-2 SWL) could have been out of the inning before Scofield came up to bat, but an error extended it. The Warriors committed another error after Scofield’s bunt single before Bridges’ triple.
“We’ve got to make plays on defense,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “We’ve been talking about that for two weeks now. We make an error on their No. 9 hole hitter, it brings up the top of the order.
“Bottom line, if we make that play, (the big inning) doesn’t happen.”
The three runs in the fourth inning were enough for Fruita starter Doran Wood.
The junior didn’t let a warning disturb his concentration.
He was told by the home plate umpire his right foot needed to maintain contact with the pitching rubber; Wood’s foot was about an inch off the rubber.
“My No. 1 pitch was my two-seam (fastball),” Wood said. “I was trying to pump that early and get that in their heads, then come with the curveball and get them off balance.”
Wood limited Central to one run on six hits and struck out 10 in five innings. Walker Williams pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
“That’s as hard as I’ve seen him throw this year,” McLennan said. “We talked about pulling him in the fifth inning. His pitch count got high.”
Central got runners on base against Wood, but couldn’t deliver a timely hit. The Warriors stranded 11 runners on base.
“The first two innings we left four or five on base,” Yost said. “We just couldn’t get a timely hit. We had one guy hitting the ball. We couldn’t get anything going.”
Central starter Kyle Rowe pitched well enough to win.
The senior allowed one earned run on seven hits and struck out five in five innings. Ryan McIvor didn’t allow a hit and struck out three in two innings of relief.
“We got a leg up on them, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to beat them for sure next time,” McLennan said. “With Rowe pitching, they’re really tough. The last kid, we couldn’t touch him.”