Monday, June 14, 2010

Hot bats fuel Grizzlies win

GREELEY, Colo.—Without a doubt, there was a multitude of offense Monday night at Tom Roche Field.

The Grizzlies pounded out 18 hits en route to 14 runs and a 14-9 victory over the Greeley Grays, their third win in as many tries on the Grays’ home field.

Cheyenne (8-3) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, scoring in every inning but the sixth and getting hits from eight of the nine starters. Additionally, all nine reached base and eight scored at least one run.

The Grizzlies have now scored in double figures in three of the past five games.

“I said early in the first few games that the offense would take a little while to get around and that’s just getting used to the wood bats, pitchers, stuff like that,” said head coach Aaron Holley. “I think guys are doing good jobs of having plans when they go up to bat and staying with their plans into the at-bat.”

Between the two teams, 23 runs were scored on 23 hits, and in the marathon that nearly reached four hours, a total of 57 runners reached base. Only 54 outs were recorded meaning the teams combined for a .514 on base percentage.

For the Grizzlies, left fielder K.C. Judge belted his first home run of the season, a two-run blast into left field in the fourth inning and went 3-for-5 with four RBI.

“Coach (Luke) Wetmore had me make an adjustment early in the game,” Judge said. “The first at-bat I felt a little awkward. He told me just to get started a little sooner to help get me in a rhythm. Rhythm when you’re hitting is everything. Luckily I got a nice, belt-high fastball. I tried to put a good swing on it and there was a good result. I have to give Coach Wetmore a lot of credit for that.”

Also having multi-hit performances were Kevin Logan (3-for-4, three runs, two walks) Jose Jauregiu (2-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Jefre Johnson (2-for-5, 1 run, 1 walk, 3RBI), Mike Domenick (2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 stolen bases, 1 walk) and Ryan Javech (3-for-6 with a double, triple and stolen base).

“We’re doing a good job of getting on base, stealing bags when we need to, we’re bunting guys over when we need to,” Holley said. “Offensively, we’re definitely clicking on all cylinders.”

As a team, the Grizzlies had six extra base hits, including two home runs. The second came in the eighth inning from catcher Jose Gonzalez, who came in an inning prior. Gonzalez took the first pitch he saw down the left-field line and over the wall.

Cheyenne also went wild on the bases, stealing eight bags on eight attempts, all but two coming in the first three innings off Grays’ starting pitcher Tyler Wallace.

“Any time they’re going to give us something we’re going to take it,” Holley said. “It wasn’t the catcher, it was definitely the pitcher being super slow to home and not having a great move to first. Anytime you have that I don’t care if you have Pudge Rodriguez or Yadier Molina behind the plate, you’re going to steal bases.”

Wallace took the loss, throwing 92 pitches through three innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits, striking out two, walking three and hitting a batter. However, Wallace allowed just one earned run, with the other seven coming off five Grays errors.

Hidden in the midst of the hit parade was Grizzlies’ starter Bryce Reid.

Reid, making his third start of the season, all at Greeley, was brilliant through five innings, striking out four and allowing just two hits, two walks and no earned runs.

“Based off of how he’s pitched here in his last two starts coming into (Monday) night (13 innings, three hits, zero runs), he was obviously going to have confidence coming in,” Holley said. “He was able to make pitches when he needs to. They have trouble hitting the hard, high fastball. His last three outings have been awesome.”

He didn’t allow an earned run until the sixth inning, a three-run homer off the bat of Josh Leo. Prior to the home run, Reid had pitched 18 1/3 innings at Tom Roche Field without allowing an earned run.

“We’d like to see him against another team, but, because of all the rainouts, it winds up that his day to pitch has come against Greeley,” Holley said.

Cheyenne led 11-2 before Leo’s blast, and 13-5 heading into the bottom of the eighth when Greeley was able to take advantage of the relievers’ wildness.

Chad Correa, making his first appearance of the season, opened the inning with back-to-back walks. He would surrender a base hit and a third walk before being relieved by Spencer Crepeaux.

With one run already in and the bases still loaded with nobody out, Jauregiu made a game-changing play. Designated hitter Tyler Wallace lined a shot to the right of Jauregiu, looking like a two-run single. But Jauregiu dived and caught the hard-hit ball, then threw to second base, doubling up Artie Carrera.

The Grizzlies used six pitchers, allowing just five hits but issuing an alarming 14 walks.

“We have 30 guys on our team, so having big run cushions is huge to see some arms that we haven’t seen,” Holley said. “What we didn’t do well out of the pen is our control. You don’t win games doing that and it’s just because offensively we put up so many runs. When guys get the opportunity to come in they need to make sure they’re performing.”

The Grizzlies will rest Tuesday before scrimmaging the minor league Casper Ghosts on Wednesday.

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