Steamboat Springs' Cody Harris slides back into first base Saturday in Rifle. Steamboat won the first game of the doubleheader, 10-7, before losing the second game, 18-10.

Photo by Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs' Cody Harris slides back into first base Saturday in Rifle. Steamboat won the first game of the doubleheader, 10-7, before losing the second game, 18-10.

Steamboat, Rifle sluggers split doubleheader

Sailors win first game, fall in second to Bears

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— As ugly as it got at times during Saturday's baseball doubleheader between Steamboat Springs High School and Rifle, both teams were able to come away with a win.

And after missing a chance at a two-win day, both managers - Steamboat's Dave Roy and Rifle's Troy Phillips - couldn't help but leave the diamond Saturday wondering what could have been.

Phillips stewed about the three unearned runs and seven walks his defense and pitching gave up in a 10-7 loss in Game 1. Roy was none too happy about the six unearned runs or 13 walks his team gave up in Steamboat's 18-10 loss in Game 2.

"All day long, both games, we played horrible defense," Phillips said. "We certainly didn't play like we're capable of."

Said Roy: "All in all, it was an excellent first game. : But I would have been much happier with a 'W' in the second game."

Neither team was particularly sharp in the field Saturday. At times, pitchers on both sides struggled with a varying strike zone.

Steamboat got the best pitching performance of the day from junior Alex Wood.

Wood pitched six strong innings, scattered six hits, gave up four earned runs and struck out eight in Game 1.

"That was excellent pitching," Roy said. "Woody came through in the clutch and got guys when he needed to."

Staked to an 8-1 lead in the top half of the fifth, Rifle started to figure out Wood the second time through its lineup. Keyed by base hits by Kory Kossak and Raliegh Roberts, the Bears put together a five-run fifth inning to close within three at 8-6.

"They started extending the amount of pitches I threw per batter," said Wood, who threw only seven first-pitch strikes to the last 19 batters he faced. "I was getting up in my pitch count."

But Wood - who threw 117 pitches on the day, including 71 for strikes - got through the sixth and gave way to freshman Alan Capistron in the seventh.

Capistron, making his first pitching appearance in a varsity game on the season, worked through a leadoff walk to pick up the save.

"I was pretty nervous," said Capistron, who also went 2-for-3 in Game 1 with three RBI. "You just have to have confidence. It was pretty good. It was kind of an underdog feeling."

Along with Capistron, Colin Boyle had two RBI in the first game. Zach Whitmore, Asa Fix and Alex Haynes all had two RBI in Game 1 for Rifle.

It looked like Steamboat's momentum would continue in the second game. The Sailors jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a two-run double from Wood and an RBI single from Boyle.

But in the bottom of the fourth, the Rifle bats finally awoke.

Seven straight Bears reached base, with the most damage coming on two-run doubles from Whitmore and Fix.

"We started to hit it the second game a little," Phillips said. "But we have to hit it better."

Steamboat answered in the top of the fifth. Down 5-3, Steamboat sent nine batters to the plate and regained the lead, 8-5, thanks to three Rifle errors.

Rifle instantly retook the lead. In the bottom of the fifth, the Bears scored five runs and got a go-ahead, three-run home run from Daniel Moleanado to take the lead for good.

Michael Lyon had three hits for Steamboat in the second game, while Boyle chipped in two.

Whitmore went 3-for-6 in the second game, while Fix, Ernesto Mendoza, and Roberts each had two hits for Rifle.

"We don't give ourselves a chance to come back in that second game," Roy said. "I want to remember the first game and remember the way we came back in the second game, not how we turned around and gave it right back."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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