Steamboat Springs Sailors pitcher Jordy Gunderson held the Rifle Bears powerful offensive attack in check for most of Saturday's game at Howelsen Hill, but in the end it just wasn't enough.
"Jordy Gunderson pitched so good," Sailors head coach Joss Vinson said. "He just hasn't had very good timing this year."
Gunderson gave up just five hits and three runs in the contest. Two of the three Bears runs came as the result of errors in the field.
But while Gunderson led the defensive charge, the Sailors' offense couldn't get going.
"We played with a little more confidence in the second game," Gunderson said. "We played pretty well, but we still couldn't seem to come up with the hits when we needed them."
The Bears scored runs in the second, fifth and six innings of the contest to escape Vanatta Field with the 3-0 win in the final game of a doubleheader. Steamboat threatened Rifle's lead several times in the contest but couldn't capitalize.
"It seemed like we would always get runners into scoring position with two outs," Vinson said, "...or we just had a little bad luck that cost us."
Steamboat's first real opportunity came in the fourth when Joe Liefer was walked on four straight balls to lead things off for the Sailors. The speedy infielder and catcher then stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Marsden. But Bears pitcher Jason Enewald got Gunderson to pop out and then wiggled off the hook by striking out Preston Stanfill to end the inning.
Steamboat also threatened in the fifth after Tanner Barr led off with a single. He advanced to second on another single from Jeff Franks.
But just as things started to look up for the Sailors, the Bears shortstop snagged a hot grounder off the bat of Adam Grimes then flipped the ball to third to nail Barr. The third baseman then fired the ball to first base to complete the double play.
Franks was then stranded at second after Jamie McKelvie popped the ball up to shallow right field to end the inning.
Steamboat attempted to rally one more time in the sixth when Scott Middleton led off with a double. But a pair of strikeouts and a pop fly ended the Sailors' last real scoring threat.
"I was really proud of the way our kids played in the second game," Vinson said. "We might of lost, but they went out there to play."
While the 3-0 loss was disappointing for the Steamboat players it was a marked improvement from the first game of the day. Steamboat lost that contest 16-4 in five innings.
Led by Brain Beecraft's two homers the Bears rolled to victory in the game by scoring two runs in the first inning, four times in the third and then adding 10 more runs in the fourth inning. Steamboat scored two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth in the defeat.
Vinson said the Sailors made way too many mistakes in the contest.
Steamboat is now 2-13 for the season and 2-8 in the league. The Sailors will play Battle Mountain in Vail on Monday in the regular-season finale.
After that game, the Sailors will have to wait and see if they will host or travel to the Western Slope's "pig tail" game, which should take place sometime next week.