Walk-off walk helps Junction rally past Delta
Timely hits and walks are a great thing in baseball.
Grand Junction used both Wednesday to pull out a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Delta at Canyon View Park.
After falling behind 5-2 after two innings, the Tigers clawed their way back into the game, then won it on a bases-loaded walk by Shawn Garcia in the bottom of the seventh.
Grand Junction coach Justin Little was pleased with the effort.
“I liked today, they battled the whole time and didn’t give up even when they were down late, so that was exciting to see,” he said.
It looked good early for the Tigers, then turned ugly for a few innings.
Grand Junction (3-1) jumped to a 2-0 lead after the first on three hits.
Sergio Moreno and Jax Nourse singled, then scored on a triple from Derek Shaver.
After a scoreless second when the Panthers left the bases loaded, Delta broke through with five runs in the third.
Speed got the inning started with Blake Reiher beating out an infield single. After Justin Violett walked, Tristan Brown ripped a double to deep left-center field to score two.
Jasper Carmichael brought Brown home with a single, and Damon Jensen later followed with a two-run single for the 5-2 lead.
Delta pitcher Drake Horn settled down after the first and pitched five solid innings, striking out five.
The Tigers scored an unearned run in the third, then had to rally late.
Grand Junction took advantage of some erratic pitching in the final two innings to tie the game at 5-5, then win it in the seventh.
In the sixth, Andrew Hansen was hit by a pitch, and Andrew Mantlo and Mason Naramore both walked. With the bases loaded, Garcia hit a bloop single to score one.
Just like the eventual winning run, Nick Arcieri came through with an RBI walk to score Mantlo and tie the game.
Hansen laced a double to center in the seventh, then Mantlo and Naramore walked again, followed by Garcia’s walk-off walk.
The Tigers may have never gotten the chance for a comeback if it wasn’t for a superb relief outing by Moreno, who pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings, striking out four.
The experienced Delta (1-1) team, featuring eight seniors, outhit the Tigers 11-6. The Panthers, who last season advanced to the final eight in Class 4A, are looking for a return trip to the state tournament this season as they move down to 3A.
“We outhit them 11 to six but we couldn’t get the timely hits we needed,” Delta coach Steve Reiher said.
Grand Junction now leaves on its annual spring break trip to the Phoenix area where Little said wins and losses aren’t necessarily the goal.
“We want to be a better team,” he said. “As long as we go down there and get better, win or lose, we want to start league and be hot then, that’s our goal.”
Playing good competition is also the goal when they head to the Southwest.
“We expect to face good competition, something that will get us ready for the playoffs and we expect to make playoffs every year,” Little said.