Wildcats rip Coronado in season opener
Clemons sharp on mound as Fruita wins 15-0 during first day of Bill Fanning Classic
Rex Clemons and his Fruita Monument High School teammates opened the baseball season as if they had WD-40 in the veins.
The Wildcats showed no rust Thursday on their way to a 15-0 victory in five innings over Coronado at Canyon View Park in the first day of the Bill Fanning Classic.
Clemons allowed two hits in three innings of work on the mound, striking out five batters.
“He had great stuff today,” Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said. “He kept their hitters off balance and they had trouble catching up with him.”
Clemons turned the ball over to Jake Williams and Shai Fullmer, who threw one scoreless inning each and struck out a combined five batters. Williams and Fullmer are both first-year varsity players who earned their stripes after successful summer seasons.
“The experience they got there allowed them to go out and be competitive against a 5A hitter,”
McLennan said. “Those guys did a good job and both put zeros on the board.”
It wasn’t all pitching for the Wildcats.
Fruita took a 10-0 lead in the first inning against Coronado starter Ryan Wooldridge.
“We were taking advantage of some pitch counts and forcing their starter to throw some strikes,” McLennan said. “We were hitting the ball hard and forcing them to make plays.”
TJ Pollack had a solid day, going 2 for 3, scoring three runs and hitting a home run. Brackett
Mays went 3 for 3 with a double.
The Wildcats play Elizabeth at 10 this morning at Suplizio Field.
Elizabeth 10, Palisade 8 (8)
Tyler Alire slugged a two-run triple for Palisade to tie the score 8-8 and send the game into extra innings.
Elizabeth, though, scored two runs in the top of the eighth to defeat the Bulldogs in the season opener for both teams.
“Our mental outlook wasn’t what I wanted as a team,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “We have to get that killer instinct when we get a team down, we can’t let them back into the game.”
The Bulldogs took a 4-0 lead before the Cardinals scored two runs in the third and six in the fourth to take an 8-4 lead.
Elizabeth’s Kyle Trichka had a pair of key hits, including a triple in the eighth.
Palisade was led by Alire and Tucker Barnes, who both went 2 for 4.
Palisade is off today and faces Woodland Park on Saturday in the Fanning tournament.
GRAND JUNCTION 27, GOLDEN 3
Except for a mental error or two on the base paths, there’s little fault Tigers coach Kyle Rush could find with his team in its season opener.
Grand Junction scored 16 runs in the bottom of the first inning to roll past the Demons. The top of the Tigers’ batting order batted three times in the inning.
Catcher Aaron Berk went 4 for 5. Tim Gastineau, Charlie Willett, Zeph Quigley, Conner Dixon and Ty Nielson each had two hits as the Tigers pounded out a 20 hits, six for extra bases.
Dixon had a three-run home run in the second inning. Geoff Baldwin, with only three days of practice since joining the team after the basketball season, had a solo home run in the third.
Dixon, a senior left-hander, gave up only five hits in four innings to earn the victory. Garrick Lemley came on for one-run relief in the fifth.