Longhorns hold off late charge from Roaring Fork
CARBONDALE – Thanks to Collin Matherly’s glove in center field, Basalt defeated Roaring Fork, 9-8, Tuesday.Matherly made a diving catch in the bottom of the seventh inning to thwart the Rams’ comeback attempt.”It was a team effort, and thank God we have the best center fielder in the league,” said Basalt co-head coach Bruce Matherly.The Rams’ near comeback from a 9-6 deficit in the final inning started when Caley Reynolds led off with a single to right field. Tyler Hunt crushed a pitch on the following at-bat, but Matherly robbed Hunt of extra bases. “This is really big for Basalt because we have seniors here who have never beat Roaring Fork at baseball. So this is special us,” Matherly said.Skyler McAllister then reached first after being hit by a pitch. Parker Nieslanik then almost hit his second homer of the game, but the ball bounced off the right-field fence. Hunt came home, McAllister advanced to third, and Nieslanik settled for a double. McAllister then scored on a Jake Bowman sacrifice fly to bring the Rams within one. With the tying run on third, Jake Kinney flied out to Matherly to end the Rams’ hopes for a comeback. “We thought we could make a run at it, but it fell short,” Nieslanik said. “That’s all right, though – we’ll get them next time.” The Rams’ first four batters scored. Batting fourth, Nieslanik brought in three runs by himself when he smacked a homer to right with two runners on base.”That was the first home run I have ever hit in a game,” Nieslanik said.Although the Rams came out strong early, it was the Longhorns who were more consistent. After putting up three runs of their own in the first, Basalt scored five more runs, including a solo homer by Rory Johnson, over the next three innings to take an 8-5 lead.The Rams had their chances but never took advantage of them.”We had some things not go our way,” Roaring Fork coach Steve Kinney said. “We had some bad bounces in the earlier part of the game, and that put guys on base. We had two innings where we left the bases loaded, and another where we left them at first and third, and we couldn’t bring them in.”Taking the loss for the Rams was Kinney, who gave up seven runs on 11 hits in three innings. J.T. Donovan got the win for the Longhorns, giving up two runs and striking out seven in six innings. Johnson picked up the save. “I was happy with all of our pitchers, but our bats got quiet there and that cost us the game,” Kinney said. “And give it to Basalt – those kids hit well. They played a great game.”
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.