Valley coaches pleased with teams’ efforts in Fanning Classic

All four local coaches find things they can improve upon

It was called the “All-Weather Classic” before the Bill Fanning Classic, and Saturday was a prime example why.

The final day’s games in the three-day prep baseball tournament were canceled because of snow, leaving teams one game short, but nonetheless pleased with what they were able to get out of their first two games.

Grand Junction and Fruita Monument both went 2-0, Central split its two tournament games and Palisade lost in extra innings in its only tournament game.

“I thought we got a lot out of it,” Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said of his team’s 15-0 victory over Coronado and its 9-2 victory over Elizabeth.

McLennan used five pitchers during the two games to make sure not to stress their arms early in the season.

“All five guys threw well,” he said.

The Wildcats begin a three-game Front Range road trip on Monday, and the day off Saturday actually helped McLennan save his pitching rotation for this week.

Palisade’s next game is in two weeks, when the Bulldogs begin Western Slope League play against Eagle Valley. That was coach Steve Moore’s main concern Saturday in not getting to play Woodland Park.

“I kind of wanted to get another game in,” he said.

Despite his team’s 10-8, eight-inning loss Thursday to Elizabeth, he saw some reason for optimism.

“I thought we hit the ball pretty good,” Moore said.

More importantly, “I was real happy with our pitching,” he said of the efforts of Rylie Josey and Mike Seriani.

“We got better from Thursday to Friday,” Central coach Chuck Yost said after his team lost 14-7 to Woodland Park but came back the second day to defeat Golden 3-2.

“Woodland Park is a scrappy team and we didn’t get timely hits,” he said. “Against Golden we got two timely hits and that was the difference.”

Grand Junction defeated Golden and Coronado by a combined 43-4 score.

“It was good to get a couple of games in,” Tigers coach Kyle Rush said.

“Defensively, we were strong and we hit the ball.”

Despite their optimism, all four coaches saw some areas in which they could improve.

“There’s some things we thought we were good (at) that we need to work on,” McLennan said.

“I know our defense is a little behind,” Moore said, something not unexpected at this point in the season, “(and) we’ve got to shore up our base running.”

Even Rush saw some room for improvement.

“We still have to do some little things better to compete in league,” he said.

Fruita Monument plays Centaurus, Highlands Ranch and Green Mountain on the road this week.

Central also makes a spring break road trip to the Front Range. The Warriors play Rangeview and Hinkley in Aurora.

Grand Junction begins a three-game road stretch on Wednesday, playing Pueblo South, Pueblo West and Rangeview.


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