Roaring Fork takes Basalt baseball by the ‘Horns
Basalt starting shortstop Connor Rakowski was late for Thursday’s game against Roaring Fork because he cut his hand on stained glass during art class. Coach Rick Ryan, who received word of the injury moments before game time, knew he’d be in for an interesting afternoon.Interesting quickly turned to frustrating for both Ryan and Longhorns starter Darren Duroux, whose one-hit performance could not hold up. The Basalt bats mustered only five hits off Rams starter Kyle Raaphalb in a 1-0 loss.”This was a great baseball game, but we wasted a one-hitter,” Ryan said. “They came in with emotion and willed that run home. We came in flat.”Duroux struck out six and walked three in a complete-game performance. And while he retired the side in four of seven innings and allowed only two Rams runners past second, Roaring Fork (6-7 overall, 5-5 Western Slope) pushed across the deciding run in the fifth.
Duroux walked No. 7 hitter Tyler Hunt to open the inning before inducing a strikeout and a groundout to first. Hunt later stole second, just beating the throw of Tucker Hinchcliffe; he then came around to score on a single to left by Adam Joiner. “That guy was out at second,” Ryan said. “The throw was there.”Duroux retired the side in the sixth and seventh to keep the Longhorns within striking distance. The Basalt offense, however, looked lost against Raaphalb.”It sucks when you throw a one-hitter and lose,” Duroux said. “We never gave up, but when we’d hit the ball, it went right to them.”
Raaphalb, a lanky right-hander, surrendered singles to J.T. Donovan in the first, Alan Prater in the third and Rakowski in the sixth. He retired the side in five of the first six innings, and induced eight fly balls and eight groundouts, to go with four strikeouts.Basalt (7-5, 5-5) made one final push in the seventh when Navardo Javalera singled with one out and moved to third on a Hinchcliffe single. But fittingly, with two outs, Bryan Mason lined a ball up the middle that Raaphalb gloved.”Kyle’s been our top pitcher all year, but we just had a rough start to the season behind him,” Rams head coach Steve Kinney said. “After the first inning, I knew he was on. The plan was to have him go five, then bring in Jake Bowman, but he was right there. We needed a boost, and he gave it to us.”Basalt, which saw its six-game winning streak end, was visibly fatigued after four games in three days. The team travels to Gunnison today for two weekend games to close out the regular season.
With his team in the hunt for second place in the conference, Ryan is hoping his squad can look past the distractions and the disappointment.”We’ve got to be careful not to let this game mean more than it really does. That’s what I’m worried about,” Ryan said. “We’re still where we want to be.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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