Delta deals Sailors losses |

Delta deals Sailors losses

Melinda Mawdsley

Alex Wood eats with his right hand. He writes with his right hand. He even bats right-handed. The only thing he does with his left hand is throw a baseball.

On Saturday, despite a 13-3 loss to Delta in the second game of a doubleheader, the freshman pitcher looked strong on the mound, striking out four batters — an encouraging sign for a relatively young Sailors squad.

“I was hitting my spots well,” Wood said. “They hit the ball.”

Steamboat’s defense made three costly errors, including two in the top of the fourth inning, that helped Delta pull away late.

The Panthers scored nine runs in the fateful fourth, but only one was earned.

“Alex did a nice job,” Sailors coach Dave Roy said. “We had poor defensive mechanics. We weren’t disciplined.”

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Steamboat lost the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 15-0. The games were played at Craig Middle School because Steamboat fields are not usable.

“The first game, we didn’t show up,” senior Zack Savage said. “The second game, we decided to put our heads in and play.”

The Panthers traditionally are one of the best teams in the Western Slope League, and the Sailors kept pace with the visiting team for the first three innings of game two.

Delta’s Preston Boyd scored the first run of the second game after his lead-off triple. Steamboat took the lead in the bottom of the second when Savage and Wood crossed the plate.

Savage walked to lead off the inning. Wood followed with a single down the right-field line, moving Savage to third. Savage scored on John Donham’s base hit into shallow center field. Wood moved to second.

Wood and Donham advanced a base on a wild pitch, and Wood later scored on some heads-up base running.

Nick Grant struck out, but Delta catcher Joe Sutliff dropped the ball on the third strike, so Grant took off toward first base. Sutliff, without hesitation, threw the ball to first to get the out, allowing Wood to score uncontested.

The Panthers scored twice in the top of the third, pulling ahead 3-2.

“We were in the second game,” Roy said. “We were right there.”

The Sailors added one run in the bottom of the fifth after Savage led off the inning with a triple. Savage, a defensive lineman in football, showed some speed on the bases after his line drive to right center rolled all the way to the fence.

He scored on Donham’s sacrifice fly to left field.

In the two games, Savage finished with three hits and scored twice. One of Steamboat’s best hitters last season, Savage had been in an early-season slump.

“I’ve always had problems with slower pitchers,” he said.

On Saturday, Steamboat faced two of the better pitchers they have seen this season in Luke Oeltjenbruns and Brandon Keller.

Oeltjenbruns was dominant in the first game, striking out 10 Sailors in a complete-game effort. Oeltjenbruns and Keller used their change-ups and curveballs effectively.

“I think (Oeltjenbruns) was the fastest guy we’ve seen this year,” Savage said. “Their change-up is the ultimate weapon, but their curveball got a few of us (Saturday).”

Steamboat returns to Craig for a 4 p.m. game Tuesday against Moffat County at Craig Middle School. Wood, who hasn’t pitched much this season because of a hyperextended elbow, thinks Savage or senior Jack Serhant will start against the Bulldogs.

Moffat County, which already swept Delta in a doubleheader this season, is a favorite to win the league. Wood saw the Bulldogs last summer.

“I remember getting a couple grand slams hit off me,” he said. “They are good.”

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