The Grand County High School baseball team played a summer tournament in Montrose, Colorado, on Friday and Saturday, May 29 and 30, falling 3-2 to Montrose on Friday. The Red Devils lost in extra innings by the same score to Grand Junction, Colorado’s Central High School on Saturday. In their final game of the tournament, the Red Devils defeated Durango, Colorado, 13-8.
Against Montrose, the Red Devils had only nine players, but shut down the opposing offense, allowing only three hits with freshman Josh Jones on the mound.
“We only had nine players so players that are normally playing on the C team were playing varsity baseball and it showed defensively at times,” Grand assistant baseball coach Ron Dolphin said.
The following day, Grand had 10 players against Central in a game that went into the seventh inning as a scoreless tie. After two batters walked in the inning, senior Ronnie Dolphin drove them in with a double. Senior Kyler Nelson walked a pair of batters in the bottom of the inning, then back-to-back errors by the Red Devils allowed Central to tie the game. Central pushed the winning run across in extra innings.
Dolphin said the baseball team allows players who just graduated the opportunity to play summer ball in order to keep their skills sharp if they’re interested in playing baseball in college.
In their final game of the tournament, Grand defeated Durango, Colorado, 13-8. Junior Brayden Ward pitched the first few innings before getting injured. He was relieved by Tobin Wainer for the fourth through sixth innings before Nelson pitched the seventh inning.
“It’s fun to compete with big schools,” Ron Dolphin said. “Montrose has 1,150 students and Central has 1,400 … We originally had 13 or 14 players commit to this tournament before other things came up. If we’d have had everyone there, I bet we win all three of those games.”
Summer baseball is one of several opportunities Grand County student athletes have to stay involved and sharpen their skills during the summer. Red Devil athletes also have the chance to attend camps in sports such as basketball, football and wrestling. Some athletes attend offseason activities from multiple sports, forcing coaches to share during the summer months.
“These different tournaments and camps give kids a chance to stay involved and keep their skills sharp,” Ron Dolphin said. “Off-season work is what really makes the difference during the season.”
“We’ve got students who play two or three different sports so we have to share players,” Ron Dolphin said. “If we had 13 or 14 players who only played baseball and didn’t play any other sports, we’d probably play more games in the summer than we do in the regular season.”
The baseball team’s summer plans include games in Fruita and Grand Junction, Colorado, and a July trip to Cedar City, Ron Dolphin said.
Grand wins one of three at summer tourney in Montrose
“These different tournaments and camps give kids a chance to stay involved and keep their skills sharp. Off-season work is what really makes the difference during the season.”