Sweep allows Palisade to clinch 4A playoff berth

Durango catcher Garrett Hatch tries unsuccessfully to tag out Pete Lelich of Palisade in the first game.

With four teams jockeying for the two remaining playoff spots in the Class 4A Western Slope League baseball race, Palisade and Glenwood Springs entered Saturday’s doubleheader at Suplizio Field believing a sweep was imperative.

Palisade wrapped up a playoff spot by doing just that, defeating the Demons 9-5 and 14-4.

“We knew we had to have them,” Palisade center fielder Jake Appling said.

As it turned out, two losses didn’t hurt the Demons’ playoff fortunes.

Delta (13-1 WSL) sewed up the league title Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of Rifle (5-9) on, eliminating the Bears from playoff contention. Eagle Valley (10-4) finished second.

Palisade moved into third place ahead of Glenwood Springs (11-8, 8-6 WSL).

If Palisade (8-7, 7-5) splits in a make-up doubleheader Monday with Moffat County, it would finish tied with Glenwood and would win the tiebreaker. If Moffat County sweeps the Bulldogs, Glenwood Springs would claim the No. 3 playoff spot and bump the Bulldogs to No. 4.

Palisade had not played particularly well in doubleheaders this season . With a chance to leapfrog over Glenwood into third place in the standings, there was a little more motivation this time.

“They came in with a lot more excitement,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said.

Still, it took four innings (and a little help from the Demons) for the Bulldogs to kick-start their offense in the first game.

Leading 1-0, Palisade scored seven runs on only two hits, taking advantage of five Glenwood errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball, to forge an 8-0 lead.

The Demons made it interesting, scoring four times in the top of the fifth, but that was Palisade pitcher Jordan Salazar’s only bad inning. He went the distance, holding Glenwood to only one run on three hits the rest of the way.

Palisade took a 4-3 lead in the second game, but Moore was concerned that Glenwood might break loose for a big inning against starting pitcher Mike Seriani, so he brought Cody Krabbe in for the bottom of the third.

In five innings of relief work, Krabbe gave up one run on five hits.

Perhaps most impressive for Palisade was its offensive output in both games, from the top to the bottom of the order. The Bulldogs combined for 28 hits in the two games, with five going for extra bases.

Jake Edmiston, playing his senior year after skipping the past two seasons, had six hits on the day and Tucker Barnes had five.

“We were crushing the ball today,” said Appling, who had four hits and scored four runs.

“It was the best team win we’ve had.”


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