Baseball: Rifle routs Basalt under the lights
RIFLE – As Rifle baseball coach Troy Phillips put it, his Bears do a lot of things right.
That includes putting in the offseason work necessary to build a winning program. From workouts to summer ball, the current crop of Rifle baseball players has a work ethic that is paying huge dividends.
With Friday’s 24-1 and 8-0 wins over visiting Basalt, the Bears polished off a 17-2 regular season. At 16-2 in the 3A Western Slope, Rifle is assured of at least a share of the conference crown with Hotchkiss.
“We’re really happy with the performance, and the results that have come from the effort the guys put in,” Phillips said. “I talked to them about how proud I am of all the work they’ve put in during the offseason, starting with the summer. I made them come do some lifting, and then all the games and practices and stuff in the winter.
“It’s nice to see the results come together from the effort you put in.”
Friday’s effort yielded a pair of wildly lopsided results.
In the five-inning opener, the Bears erupted for 16 runs in the second inning.
Triston Quigley picked up the win on the mound, allowing just three hits and striking out six in five innings.
Rifle finished the game with 12 hits, three coming from Tanner Quick, who doubled twice. Teig Hauer and Nate Schilt had two hits apiece and Quigley, Danny Bartels, Wyatt Robinson, Jacob Withee and Mitch Ray each had a hit.
Tanner Banc, Spencer Glasener and Dylan Ahasic each had a hit for the Longhorns.
Bartels pitched a gem in the nightcap, turning in six innings of one-hit ball. He struck out 15, and the one hit he surrendered didn’t come until the sixth inning, when Cody Hoffman lined a single to center field.
Ray pitched the seventh inning, striking out two. He gave up Basalt’s only other hit of the game, a single by Banc.
Banc pitched five innings for the Longhorns in the second game.
“The second game, we had a lot more positives,” Basalt coach Mike Hoffman said. “We had our senior out on the mound. He hasn’t been pitching much this year due to arm soreness. … The kids get behind him a little bit.”
A steady offensive effort paced the Bears, who scored a run in the first inning, two in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Quigley, Bartels, Ray and Robinson finished with two hits apiece. Quigley clobbered a solo homer in the second inning.
Rifle, which secured its first league title since 2003, will now wait to see what happens in today’s doubleheader between Hotchkiss and Coal Ridge. A sweep would put Hotchkiss at 17-2 overall and 16-2 in league play and deliver the Bulldogs a share of the title.
Either way, the Bears have a spot in next weekend’s districts wrapped up.
“It just feels good after last year,” Schilt said. “We had a pretty good season last year, but to finish it out this year feels pretty good.”
Basalt finished its season at 5-14 overall and 5-13 in league play.
“We’re moving real forward,” Hoffman said. “We had a whole bunch of people turn out. … It’s a development. We’ve got a lot of freshmen coming up and a great group of sophomores. We’re coming along.”
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