Under the lights: Central tops Fruita Monument in back-and-forth tilt at Suplizio Field
Scott Clow refused to be denied.
The Central High School senior pitched a complete game, striking out 10 during the Warriors’ 11-9 win over Fruita Monument at Suplizio Field.
“This was a big game for him, and he wanted to beat them,” Central coach Chuck Yost said. “He’s a battler and he didn’t want to come out of the game.”
In the second meeting between the two teams, Clow was looking to make up for the first time around when he lost a late lead for the Warriors (5-10, 2-5 Southwestern League) that eventually led to a 7-6 Fruita win.
Clow was poised to make sure that didn’t happen twice.
“This was the last time I was going to play Fruita for the rest of my life, so I had to get the win,” Clow said. “(By the seventh), nothing could stop me, I had to get the win.”
In the seventh, the Warriors had led 11-8 and Clow struck out the first two batters. After Ryan Blair reached third base on an error by Alec Rupe in center field, Ryan Mixon had an RBI single. Clow halted the rally by getting Cody Rahmann to fly out to left field to end the game.
Yost said the coaching staff had a feeling Clow was going to come up big Wednesday night.
“When (Clow) was in the bullpen warming up, coach (Kim) Roberts said ‘he’s going to win this game for you,’ ” Yost said. “He did. Scott threw fantastic.”
Clow might have finished strong, but he got off to a shaky start. Mixon, Fruita Monument’s leadoff hitter, began the game with a solo home run to put the Wildcats up 1-0.
Undeterred, the Warriors added three runs of their own in the bottom of the first, including an RBI triple by Clow that gave Central a 3-1 lead.
Clow found himself in trouble in the fourth inning when the Wildcats had the bases loaded with Rahmann batting. The Wildcat senior laced a line drive to right field that cleared the fence for a grand slam, giving Fruita (11-5, 5-3 SWL) a 5-3 lead.
Fruita’s Jace Griffiths added a two-run home run in the fifth inning to push the lead to 7-3.
“The home runs took the wind out of us,” Yost said. “We were trying to do too much at the plate, but we finally decided we had to get some hits and got something going.”
The Warriors responded with a five-run fifth inning that included another RBI triple from Clow. Aaron Reece also had a two-run single in the inning. The big inning put the Warriors ahead 8-7.
“We had a chance to take control at one point and didn’t do it,” Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said. “We knew it was going to be a tough one.”
Fruita tied the game at 8-8 in the sixth inning, but Central took advantage of a Wildcats pitching staff that struggled with control, walking five batters in the bottom of the sixth inning. The free passes allowed Central to push its lead to 11-8.
“We didn’t play seven innings in the beginning of the season,” Reece said. “We are doing that now, and that’s led to some wins.”