Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grizzlies close out regular season, prepare for MCBL championship

FORT COLLINS, Colo.—The Grizzlies never got going Sunday evening, falling to the Fort Collins Foxes 14-0 at The Fox Den in the 2010 regular-season finale.

Starting pitcher Howard Heinrich pitched through a miserable first inning, allowing six runs on four hits, but was able to limit the Foxes to one walk and zero hits and zero runs over the next four innings.

The Grizzlies got two runners on base in the first inning—a Taylor Fallon walk and Ryan Schwenn single—but it would turn out to be one of their best scoring chances of the night.

Fallon’s single in the eighth inning would be their only other hit of the night, getting two-hit by three Foxes pitchers.

With the loss, the Grizzlies ended their regular season with a record of 20-18, third place in the MCBL standings. Due to Greeley’s decision to compete in the NBC World Series next week, Cheyenne and Fort Collins will meet in a best-of-three championship series beginning Thursday.

Cheyenne has dropped 13 of its last 16 games dating back to July 4, but the last two games have been with non-traditional lineups.

“We’ve played these guys 12 times now,” head coach Aaron Holley said. “We kind of know what they’re gonna throw at us and what to expect. Obviously, these last two games haven’t really been a testament to what’s gonna happen here in this series.”

Even with the slump, Holley knows that his team is within two wins of meeting their ultimate goal of winning their first MCBL championship.

“The way we’re looking at it is all the records get erased,” Holley said. “It’s a three-game series; if you win two of them, you go home champions, regardless of regular-season records or anything in the past.”

The Grizzlies will have the next three days off, but will still spend time each day preparing for the final series.

“We’ll work out the next three days as a team to make sure we’re getting our work in,” Holley said. “I told the guys that this is similar to school ball. You’ve got three days off before you play again, so we have to go back, prepare the way they know how to prepare when they’re not playing every day, which might make them a little more comfortable going into the series, I think.

Game 1 of the championship is set for Thursday in Cheyenne at 6:30 p.m. It will be fans’ last chance to see the Grizzlies play this season at Pioneer Park.

Games 2 and 3, if necessary, will be played in Fort Collins at 6:15 p.m., where Cheyenne is 3-3 on the season. The Grizzlies are 5-7 overall against the Foxes.

“We’ve played them well, especially here,” Holley said. “We’re focused on getting that first win. If we can get that one at home, we come to Fort Collins with two chances to close it out.

“These last two games have kind of taken off all the pressure, I think. We’re planning on just going out there and leaving it all out there on the field. If we do that, we should come back to Cheyenne as champions.”

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