There was a moment this week when the Fruita Monument High School baseball team's coaching staff considered moving Trey Morrill down in the batting order.
The reigning Southwestern League player of the year was hitting .263 with a team-high 18 strikeouts coming into Friday's game against Central. But during practice, pitching coach Don Vidmar said the senior was due for a big hit.
Turns out Vidmar was right.
With the Wildcats trailing 7-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Morrill sent a fastball 400-plus feet for a walk-off grand slam that lifted Fruita to an 8-7 victory at Suplizio Field.
Morrill stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and faced Tristan Ammerman, who had just relieved Central starter Caleb Dwyer. After a mighty swing and miss on the first pitch he saw, Morrill took the next pitch out to the deepest part of the park just left of center field.
"With the first pitch, I knew he was going try to get me a strike because he was just coming in," Morrill said. "The first one, I swung my butt off. I knew that second one was going to be there and I told myself just to base hit it. If it goes out, it goes out. It went out."
Morrill credited his teammates for starting the seventh inning rally after five scoreless frames for the Wildcats (8-4, 2-0 SWL). The Warriors (5-7, 0-2), anchored by Dwyer's outstanding start, were rock solid after allowing three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
But in the final frame, Fruita started down 7-3. Tony Guadnola got the rally going by reaching on an error. Zach Rush followed with a single and Tyler Boggs singled to cut the lead to three runs. Zach Coutts' single loaded the bases before Morrill ended the game.
Fruita Monument coach Ray McLennan said his team was focused on station-to-station baseball at the start of the seventh. After a five-inning drought, the coach said he was proud of his team's resolve.
"I just thought that we had to get guys on," McLennan said. "That was something we hadn't been doing. Dwyer did a good job. He settled down after that first inning and pitched a great ballgame. We were just fortunate that Trey got a good swing on a good pitch and hit it out."
Rush opened scoring in the bottom of the first inning for the Wildcats with an RBI single and Coutts added another on a fielder's choice. A third run came in on a single from Morrill.
For the next five innings, it was all Central. The Warriors quickly took the lead in the top of the second on an RBI double from Dakota Dunham, a two-run single from Joey Estep, an RBI single from Cade Balleweg and an RBI single from Paul Salazar.
Trey Satterfield gave the Warriors a 6-3 lead in the top of the third on a squeeze play, one of three bunts the senior laid down. Balleweg added another RBI single in the fifth before a scoreless sixth.
Dwyer was a stabilizing force for the Warriors, pitching 6 innings with two strikeouts and two walks. The senior forced numerous pop-ups and created easy outs for Central.