In what began as an 8-0 lead for Riverdale Ridge (2-3) against Thornton (1-4), the Trojans didn’t lay down on the road. After scoring five runs in the third to cut the lead to three, the fun was …
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In what began as an 8-0 lead for Riverdale Ridge (2-3) against Thornton (1-4), the Trojans didn’t lay down on the road. After scoring five runs in the third to cut the lead to three, the fun was just beginning on a windy evening, March 28.
With a 1-2-3 bottom of the third for RR, Thornton seized momentum with a run after Jose Zubia reached on an error and later scored on a fielder’s choice. Striking back with an insurance run of their own, Dakota Pruitt’s leadoff single in the fourth sparked the group’s 9th run, scoring on an error by the Trojans on a pick-off play.
Another added score in the fifth started with a leadoff double from Brody Waltemath, who came around to score after the Thornton error. In the sloppy contest from both young teams, Thornton didn’t go away.
Four runs in the top of the sixth put the game at a tie with three walks and two hits from Sammy Cabral (double) Shayne Eggers (single) respectively. However, the road team left the bases filled.
Leaving the bases loaded themselves, Riverdale Ridge couldn’t convert on their opportunity to gain the lead back in the bottom half. Thornton did take advantage, taking their first lead (11-10) in the top of the seventh behind a bases-loaded walk to Eggers; the last of three BB’s.
“We have been in these tight ballgames (against Weld Central lost 9-8 after 7-1 lead), and we were very close, and today I was like `hey another one-run ballgame, we have talked about this, we can come back and win this,’” Riverdale Ridge manager Ray Garza said.
And they did. After the 1-out double by freshman Jordan Rodriguez, a walk followed by a single from Caden Stadler filled the bases for Pruitt. Already recording three hits in his prior three at-bats, the sophomore came up huge with hit No. 4 and a game-winner on the double over the left fielder’s head; clinching their first home win in program history, 12-11.
“He’s (Pruitt) our go-to guy, offensively, defensively. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time situations, “Garza said. “He’s an all-around athlete. When you have a kid like that step up to the plate, it puts a little hope in your step. Obviously, every coach would love him in those type of situations. It’s a two-way street in allowing him to be Dakota, but we also have to work together in the aspects of we have a bunch of little babies. We have a bunch of freshmen, a lot of kids that are learning and I hold them to a higher standard.”
Coming up in a big way, Garza stressed the importance of Rodriguez bouncing back from his run allowed in the top half of the seventh on the mound.
“To me, he was more of the guy that won us that ballgame. He led off that (final) inning with a double and that young man, sitting six innings in this cold weather came in and smoked a ball. That’s that lost heroic moment.”
As a first-year baseball program, only freshman and sophomores fill the Riverdale Ridge roster. Defeating cross-town foe Thornton could do wonders for a team that is trying to make their mark in the state of Colorado.
“I’m enjoying it. I’m having fun,” Garza said. “The kids, we have a good time. They get to hear me laugh, and I get to hear them laugh, so it’s a fun time. We have a lot of work left to do. We have a tough road ahead, but we are building.”
Behind Pruitt, sophomore Mathias Talarico recorded three hits followed by two apiece from freshman Ethan McCormick, Corey Lopez and Waltemath. In the 10-hit performance for Thornton, Eggers led the team with three hits and three runs batted in. Evan Montelongo also drove in three.
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