Steamboat Springs baseball comes out on top of Moffat County, 6-3, in 10-inning game
Craig — Baseball in Northwest Colorado means having to play in all kinds of weather, a fact both teams knew as Moffat County High School hosted Steamboat Springs Wednesday afternoon. What they didn’t expect was that the day would go so long.
Steamboat took the game, 6-3, against MCHS in a game that lasted 10 innings and saw a small amount of snowfall as the Bulldogs and Sailors fought hard for nearly four hours.
Leading, 2-1, after the first inning, Moffat County got its last run in the third as a triple by Phillip Chadwick sent Brett Loyd across the plate.
Chadwick pitched for the first four innings, gaining one strikeout. The Sailors let their sticks do the talking, with the Bulldog infield and outfield ready.
Chadwick said his mind was a little preoccupied on the mound, as evidenced by two bean balls that were high and inside, hitting batters Alejandro Sandoval and Canon Reece both right in the funny bone, followed by a wild throw in an attempted pickoff at first base that helped the Sailors score their second run.
“It’s a battle, you’ve got to leave that off the field and not struggle with that,” he said.
Matt Hamilton relieved Chadwick — who caught the rest of the game — to finish the fourth inning, throwing through the seventh, striking out three batters and allowing only one run in the fifth as Charley Fitzhugh turned a ground rule double into a successful trip around the diamond, stealing third and home.
The score remained tied as both teams cracked down in the field. Moffat County and Steamboat each faced constant high-pressure situations, but each kept up the defense to keep the other at bay — including a clutch double play by the Bulldogs in the sixth — as the game went into extra innings.
Sailor Jesse Pugh was a threat on both ends, pitching the first five innings and taking nine strikeouts. He also repeatedly swung for the fences, twice hitting the asphalt of the adjacent Highway 13 only for them to be called foul.
At the start of the 10th, the Steamboat slugger again knocked it this far to give his team the go-ahead run.
“It’s not too often the starting ends up being the one who gets the save,” Pugh said, stating he was glad to be the one to do so.
To add to Pugh’s homer, a double by Michael Boyle earned him two RBIs.
MCHS coach Justin Folley said he felt for closer Josh Turner in those moments, otherwise hanging in under rough conditions with three strikeouts. Turner, a freshman, also was the last batter of the night, going down swinging with teammates on all three bases.
“It was a good game, well-fought,” Folley said. “Defense played well, and we wanted to keep the intensity going with our swings again.”
The Bulldogs are 4-7 overall after the non-league game, coming off a Tuesday 7-2 win on the road against Grand Valley, highlighted by Loyd throwing the entire game with seven strikeouts.
Steamboat’s season is 5-9 after the win over their Highway 40 rivals, a follow-up to a split weekend against Glenwood Springs.
The key was tenacity, noted coach Rusty McRight.
“We had runners in scoring position multiple times, the bases loaded twice and were unable to score, but we had a lot of protection from the bottom half of our lineup as far as being disciplined at the plate and getting base hits in key situations,” he said. “That’s probably what kept us alive, because by doing so, that allowed the top board to come up and produce some of the winning runs.”
Both teams play doubleheaders this Saturday, the Sailors in Palisade and the Bulldogs hosting Basalt.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.
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