Hotchkiss will enter the district baseball tournament in a tie for first place in the 3A Western Slope League with Rifle after sweeping a doubleheader Saturday over visiting Coal Ridge. The Dogs put both games away in five innings, and both games ended on a walk.
Hotchkiss is 15-2 overall, 14-2 WSL and will be one of the top eight teams when seeding is announced today (Wednesday). They will host one of eight league tournaments this Saturday.
The Bulldogs opened game one a bit sluggish against Coal Ridge (4-12), but after warming up, led 5-0 by the end of the third.
Coal Ridge loaded the bases on their first three at bats to start off the fourth. The Titans attempted to steal home, but the runner was tagged by Jaime Rodriguez at the plate. Pitcher Edgar Macias struck out the next batter, with the third out coming on a fly out to short stop.
Hotchkiss added two more runs in the fourth — an RBI by Rodriguez and another by Jacobe Galley, then put the game away with a three-run fifth inning. With the bases loaded, the Bulldogs scored when Macias was walked.
The Bulldogs were more prepared to win going into game two. Rodriguez opened, throwing for six strikeouts and holding the Titans to no hits in the first three innings.
Bulldog Dylan Rupe led off with a triple to right field, then scored the opening run on a sacrifice hit by Rodriguez. With one out, Macias slammed a one-run triple to center field to score Galley, and Conner Beard followed with an RBI single. The Bulldogs took a four-run lead on a one-run single by Hank Edwards.
The Bulldogs made several changes to the defense and brought Galley in to pitch in the fourth.
The Titans seized on the opportunity to score six runs in 11 at bats to trail, 12-6. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs opened up their hitting game to score three runs, including a one-run double by Macias and a two-run double by Beard. The Titans couldn't buy a hit in the top of the fifth, and with the bases loaded for Hotchkiss in the bottom of the inning, Titan pitcher Cameron Cotton walked Rodriguez to end the game at 16-6.
"We gathered ourselves back up and finished strong," said head coach Jason Yantzer, who wasn't sure whether to blame the blip in play on the adjustment period or the fact that it was prom night.
With a 12-game winning streak and a lot going for them, the Bulldogs are confident heading into districts. The defense is working well, the pitching is solid, and "We found our offense, we're swinging the bat well," said Yantzer.
WSL teams Cedaredge (12-7), Olathe (14-5) and Roaring Fork (9-8) will all advance to district competition, and Gunnison could also make the final cut. Rifle and Hotchkiss will each host one of eight district tournaments this Saturday. Teams and seeding for this week's matchups will be announced today (Wednesday).
This will be the second consecutive year the Bulldogs will host a tournament. Only the winners of each tournament advance to regionals, and that means the Bulldogs will need to win both games on Saturday. Said Yantzer, "It's win or go home."blog comments powered by Disqus