Dove Creek splits opening SJBL baseball games

Coach Ken Soper congratulates Klancey Krafka after he hit a bases loaded triple on the way to a Dove Creek win over Ignacio on Thursday at McAndrew Field. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Coach Ken Soper congratulates Klancey Krafka after he hit a bases loaded triple on the way to a Dove Creek win over Ignacio on Thursday at McAndrew Field.

In baseball, a team can be red hot one minute.

The next minute?

Ice cold.

Dove Creek's baseball team was a prime example of hot and cold, playing two league opening games on consecutive days.

On Thursday, the Bulldogs hosted Ignacio at McAndrew Field in Cortez, because Dove Creek's diamond was covered in snow.

After allowing two first inning runs, Dove Creek scored 12 unanswered to win 12-2 in five innings.

On Friday night, the Bulldogs trekked to Norwood to play Nucla under the lights.

"That was all screwed up. It's the first night game since I've been here," said 51st year Dove Creek coach Ken Soper.

The frigid Norwood temperatures after the sun went down combined with playing under bright lights was a mixture for disaster for coach Soper's team.

Nucla had practiced under the lights for a few days prior to the game.

Home cooking perhaps?

Maybe.

Bottom line, the Bulldogs struggled against the first-place Nucla Mustangs, losing 16-6 in five.

"That night game really affected us," Soper said. "I just told the kids to 'Forget that game.' We'll play them again."

Dove Creek (6-4, 1-1 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) started strong with four runs in the top of the first to lead 4-0.

However, dropped fly balls under the lights were part of five Bulldogs' errors, which resulted in 13 Nucla runs.

"We had two fly balls dropped by our two out-fielders that hardly ever miss fly balls," Soper said. "Under the lights, it was different and they misjudged it."

Against Ignacio, Dove Creek played error free ball in what was arguably its best game of the season.

Returning All-State selection Klancey Krafka batted 3-for-3 Friday with five RBIs. The Bulldogs' first baseman belted a bases loaded clearing triple in the second inning to blow the game open.

"We came out today and everybody was ready to hit," said Krafka about his team out-hitting Ignacio 8-3. "I was really impressed with our hitting today. We just need to keep our confidence up and not fool around. Staying focused is the main thing."

Dalton Randolph got the win on the mound against Ignacio, pitching a complete game.

Dove Creek gets back to the diamond today at rival Dolores with the first pitch at 1 p.m. at Joe Rowell Park.

bobbya@cortezjournal.com.