Wildcat way: Fruita Monument baseball team answers challenge by Montrose

Montrose Infielder Luis Perez watches a run score as Levi Kramer slides into second base Wednesday night during the Wildcats’ 7-3 victory over the Indians at Suplizio Field. Kramer went 3 for 4 as the Wildcats earned their first Southwestern League victory. Fruita improved to 7-3 overall.

Good baseball teams find ways to win.

They find ways to rally from behind like Fruita Monument did early in the season, or answer a comeback attempt by the opponent.

Although the Wildcats didn’t have to come from behind Wednesday, they did answer Montrose’s attempt to get back in the game with a four-run fifth inning to propel them to a 7-3 Southwestern League victory at Suplizio Field.

Ryan Blair led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a triple to ignite the Wildcats (7-3, 1-0 SWL).

“I went up there thinking I’ve got to get on base and get something going,” Blair said. “I really didn’t think I’d end up with a triple, but I found that perfect pitch and went with it.”

It was the second time this season Blair came up with a leadoff triple in a tie game this season.

“My team calls it the comeback triple,” Blair said.

Drew Bridges singled him home then Evan McDermott and Doran Wood had RBI singles later in the inning.

“We asked them to respond,” Fruita coach Ray McLennan said. “We talked about some of the things we had trouble with in the past, earlier this season. We give up a big lead or have a bad inning; you have to respond. I thought it was important to get the momentum back and we did.

“You want your seniors to step up and do that. Ryan hits leadoff for a reason. He’s lightning fast. When he hits, we score. It’s that simple.”

Montrose (5-3, 0-2 SWL) loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning to chase Bridges, who started. Shai Fullmer, another senior, got out of the jam, limiting the Indians to one run.

“Shai did a good job coming in there bases loaded, nobody out,” McLennan said. “You give the ball to your senior, and you want them to come through for you. If you’re going to be a good baseball team, you have to have seniors step (forward) in big moments like that and get you out of jams. They are a good baseball team. Drew did a good job of keeping us in the game and throwing the ball hard. That was our plan all along.”

Bridges allowed one earned run on four hits and struck out six in five innings for the victory.

“The most important thing is attack the strike zone, make them put the ball in play,” Bridges said. “I was able to do that at times. It was a big game, but I had to control my emotion.”

Montrose starter Bryce Gaber kept the Wildcats in check until the fifth. He allowed six runs on nine hits, three walks and struck out four in 42⁄3 innings.

Central 15, Rangeview 5: The Warriors (6-2) bounced back from a league loss with a nonleague run-rule victory at Canyon View Park.

Central’s Tanner Denton was 2 for 3 with three RBI, Tanner Reid was 3 for 3 with two RBI, Taylor Haynie was 3 for 4 with two RBI and Alec Rupe was 2 for 2 with two RBI.

Reid limited Rangeview to five runs on six hits, five walks and struck out three in 32⁄3 innings for the win.


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