Tigers satisfy appetite by feasting on Warriors

Geoff Baldwin watches a monster HR sail over the fence

The Tigers were hungry and needed to feed.

The Grand Junction High School baseball team bounced back from its first league loss to defeat Central 13-3 on Friday night in five innings at Suplizio Field.

“We were very motivated for this game,” Grand Junction’s Jayke Brock said. “We worked hard at practice (Thursday), and worked hard to win this one.”

After losing Wednesday at Durango 6-3, the Tigers (13-2, 5-1 Southwestern League) jumped out to a 8-0 lead against the Warriors (8-7, 1-5 SWL). The Tigers’ No. 3 hitter, Brock, got things going with a two-run triple. Brock would score on a passed ball during Geoff Baldwin’s at-bat.

“Whenever you start out really hot and the first three get on, it can be a spark,” Brock said.

“We played really well coming off of a loss.”

Warriors starting pitcher John Woods had a chance to get out of the inning with two outs and the bases loaded, but Charlie Willett hit a bases-clearing triple to give the Tigers an eight-run first inning.

“We jumped on them early, which was good because in the last few league games we had given up runs first,” Grand Junction coach Kyle Rush said. “It was nice to get out early, and for people to start hitting the ball again.”

Conner Dixon was efficient on the mound and held the Warriors scoreless through the first three innings. Central got some offense going in the fourth inning as the first three hitters,
Travis Key, Spencer Hicks and Alec Rupe doubled. After allowing all three players to score, Dixon got out of the inning by getting Scott Clow to line out.

Although the loss hurt for the Warriors, Central first baseman Dylan Begg said the fourth inning will help the team’s confidence.

“If we hadn’t scored, we would be down in the dumps more,” Begg said. “But we strung some hits together and we can build off of that.”

With the lead cut to 8-3, Grand Junction responded in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs. Baldwin hit a two-run home run in the inning and Andy Willett knocked a two-run triple in the inning.

Grand Junction ended the game in the fifth inning on Aaron Berk’s RBI double.

“We struggled in the fourth, and they earned those runs,” Rush said. “But we answered, and went from there.”

Central was led by Kyle Brown who went 2 for 2. Grand Junction’s Brock went 3 for 4 and Baldwin was 2 for 2 for the Tigers, who collected 14 hits.

“We hit the ball everywhere,” Grand Junction shortstop Tim Gastineau said. “Our batters did a good job of getting on base and scoring.”

With the loss, Central drops to 1-5 in league and looks to bounce back Tuesday against Montrose.

“That first inning killed us,” Begg said. “But we know we are better than how we played and know we can do better.”

Grand Junction faces Fruita Monument on Tuesday at Suplizio Field.

“We have to come out, get on them early and have some fun,” Gastineau said.


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