Grand High baseball team starts season with wins at New Mexico invitational tournament
Team members pay tribute to Connor Denney during March 7 home game
by Jeff Richards
The Times-Independent
Mar 16, 2017 | 2710 views | 0 0 comments | 57 57 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Red Devil players pose with their trophy after winning the Bloomfield Invitational tournament on March 11. 
                                                                                                                                 Photo courtesy of Ron Dolphin
Red Devil players pose with their trophy after winning the Bloomfield Invitational tournament on March 11. Photo courtesy of Ron Dolphin

The Grand County High School baseball team started its season on a strong note last week, winning all three games at an invitational tournament in Bloomfield, New Mexico.

The Red Devils started out the tournament with a 6-0 shutout win over Bernalillo, New Mexico on Thursday, March 9. Grand belted 11 hits during the contest, including a home run by Brayden Schultz and two doubles by Masen Ward. Josh Jones was the winning pitcher, striking out 11 batters out of the 14 he faced in the first four innings before being relieved by Schultz.

Then, on Friday, the Red Devils defeated Shiprock, New Mexico by a score of 8-0. Once again, Grand had 11 hits. Senior Caden Noyes was the winning pitcher, with sophomore reliever Brody Williams getting the save.

In Saturday’s showdown for the tournament championship, the Red Devils faced the host team, the Bloomfield Bobcats. Each team scored its first run in the third inning, after which Grand added another run in the fourth to pull ahead for good, eventually winning the game 5-1. The Red Devils had nine total hits. Ward pitched the first four innings and picked up the win, while Jones threw three strong innings of relief, striking out six batters.

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, March 7, Grand played a sub-varsity doubleheader at home against Dolores, Colorado, with the Red Devils winning both games. At the beginning of the first contest, the Red Devils paid a touching tribute to sophomore centerfielder Connor Denney, who had been killed in a car accident two days earlier. Grand started the first inning with Denney’s centerfield spot left open, and also didn’t send a batter to the plate in what would have been Denney’s first at-bat, taking an automatic out instead. In addition, the game ball used for the first pitch of that game was signed by all of the Red Devil players and given to Denney’s family.

A memorial service for Denney was held Tuesday, March 14 at the high school baseball field.

The Red Devils were scheduled to face off against Nucla, Colorado, in a sub-varsity doubleheader on the afternoon of March 14. Grand is also scheduled to travel to Nucla on Friday, March 17 for a varsity game, followed by a junior varsity contest.

On Saturday, March 18, Grand will host its first varsity home games of the season, facing non-region opponents Delta and Summit Academy in a pair of contests. The first game starts at 11 a.m. and the second one is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

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