ROCK SPRINGS – The Rawlins Colonels’ road trip to Rock Springs over the weekend witnessed both highs and lows during their four games.
The Colonels’ first game on Friday against the Rock Springs Sand Puppies stated off with a bang, as Michael Lesco knocked a singled up the middle to start the first inning.
With a man on second and one down, Zach Waring clobbered a 2-2 pitch into right field that drove Lesco home for the first run of the day.
The Sand Puppies’ pitching staff would quickly recover, proceeding to strikeout the next two batters to end the inning and keep Waring at first base.
The Colonels’ pitching staff responded in kind, sitting down the Sand Puppies on three strikeouts.
The top of the second inning would see the Colonels struggle to get back on base as Sand Puppies pitching set Rawlins down in order.
The bottom of the second inning began well for the Colonels, inducing a ground out and a strike out. With two down in the inning, the Sand Puppies rallied to score four runs on a hit by pitch, single, walk, double, and another single, before a ground ball finally forced them off the base paths.
Rawlins started out the top of the third with two quick outs, but refused to go quietly into the next frame, rattling off three singles in a row to score one. Despite their efforts cutting the Sand Puppies lead in half, a fly out to right field would end the rally.
The bottom of the third would be a little rocky for Rawlins’ pitchers, but three strikeouts saw the inning to its conclusion, but not before the Sand Puppies tacked on another run.
Still trailing going into the top of the fourth, Canyon Greene drove a single up the right field line. Greene immediately showed his speed by stealing second and third in the same at bat, before being driven in on a ground out to the third baseman.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Colonels flirted with danger, as they would give the Sand Puppies two free base runners off a walk and a hit by pitch, but a timely fielder’s choice and a strikeout kept the scoreboard stationary.
The Colonels’ efforts in the top of the fifth started well with the first two batters reaching base on a single and a hit by pitch. One deep fly ball later, and the Rawlins Colonels had pulled the lead within one run. Another single by Robert Flores leveled the game at 5 runs a piece.
Flores showed off his speed, stealing second base during the next at bat, and reaching third base via an error charged to Rock Springs’ third baseman. Flores refused to end his spree of stolen bases at third, going for the ambitious theft of home plate. Flores’ daring succeeded to recapture the lead for the first time since the second inning.
The Sand Puppies charged back in the bottom of the fifth, but could only manage to level the score before their third strikeout of the inning ended the threat.
The sixth inning proceeded quietly, as neither team managed to put more than four players in the batter’s box.
Despite a quiet sixth, the Colonels took the lead in the seventh off the back of four singles in a row, but Rawlins had only started their scoring spree. An attempted fielder’s choice drove in another, as the Sand Puppies failed to get anyone out on the play.
The Colonels continued to mash, as a single drove another run in, before a strikeout would give the Sand Puppies their first out of the inning. The Colonels scored one more run on a sacrifice bunt, before a strikeout ended their six-run inning, the last runs of the game.
Despite the Sand Puppies’ best efforts to keep scoring, Rawlins’ bats proved too much for Rock Springs’ pitching staff, notching 14 hits and 12 runs. Blane Mathill, Lesco, Flores, and Waring all managed multi-hit games
Rawlins’ own pitching staff also struggled but held the Sand Puppies in check when it mattered, giving up only seven hits and six runs. Much of the Colonels’ pitching success came off the back of a 16-strikeout performance by the three players who took the mound.
Final Score: 12-6
In the second game of the tournament, held on Saturday, Rawlins’ red-hot bats cooled under Riverton’s pitching staff. The Colonels only managed five hits without driving in a single run, though Rawlins’ batters only struck out three times.
The pitching staff also struggled, giving up 18 runs off of 16 hits and 11 walks, though the Colonels did manage to sit down five batters on strikes.
Final Score: 0-18
Despite struggling to get the bats going in their last game, the Colonels managed to put together a 10-hit game, though only four runs crossed home plate.
The pitching staff’s struggles continued as they gave up 16 runs on 14 hits and 11 walks, while striking out five batters for the second game in the tournament.
Final Score: 4-16
In the final game of the tournament, held on Sunday, Rawlins’ finest out-hit the Rock Springs Sand Puppies in a rematch, but struggled to drive their base runners in. Rawlins quickly fell behind after the Sand Puppies scored two runs in three straight innings.
Though Rawlins would fight to the very end, but their efforts fell a few runs short of victory.
Despite failing to capture the win in the rematch, the Colonels scored six runs on nine hits, three more than their opponents.
The pitching staff continued to struggle as they gave up nine runs by the end of the day, but would only allow six hits. Rawlins also gave up nine walks, but managed 8 strikeouts on their final outing of the weekend.
Final Score: 6-9