Palmer Ridge baseball recovers from rough start, blows by host Canon City

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CANON CITY - It took him an inning, but Nathan Gishwiller cooled the Canon City Tigers' bats Thursday.

Gishwiller and his teammates provided plenty of offense to erase an early deficit, and the Palmer Ridge Bears knocked off the Tigers 9-4 in a non-league game at Justin Field.

The Tigers (4-1) used four straight hits - including doubles from Jarret Koch and Branson Simms - to jump out to a 3-0 lead.

"I left a couple pitches up and they put the ball where my fielders weren't - they put it in the gaps and ended up getting a couple of base hits," Gishwiller said.

Even the outs were hit hard in the first inning. Tigers leadoff hitter Zac Hanenberg didn't reach base safely, but he made solid enough contact on a fastball up in the zone that right fielder Ben Kleinsmith had to retreat to the warning track to make the catch and save a triple.

"He was getting the ball up early," Bears coach Scott Randall said. "They seem like a good fastball hitting team. We talked about it and he started working down. They started hitting it at people - simple as that."

Gishwiller said he didn't throw as many fastballs after the first inning. The senior struck out six and didn't allow a walk in six innings of work. He gave up two earned runs.

The Pikes Peak region 4A No. 3 Palmer Ridge Bears improved to 5-1 with the win.

The quick start but lack of consistency through the game is something that's plagued the Tigers all season, head coach Tim Ritter said. It finally cost the team.

"We had some empty at-bats, that's kind of where we've been so far this year and it beat us today a little bit," Ritter said.

"We had some times where we needed a clutch hit and we came away with two strikeouts with a guy at third. We can't do that. We've got to get better at that, we have to have a plan at the plate."

Canon City wasn't helped by its defense, either. The team made six errors, including two in the top of the third that allowed Palmer Ridge to tie the game.

Canon City starter Luke Nethercot got the final two outs of that inning and stranded the go-ahead run at third base.

The Bears kept their offense in gear and scored five runs in the fourth inning to pull away for good.

Bears leadoff hitter Sam Britton was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Gishwiller was 3 for 4 with three RBIs.

Koch was 3 for 4 for the Tigers. They also got multi-hit games from Simms and Kadin Porter.

It was the Bears' second trip south in three days. On Tuesday, the Bears and Pueblo South Colts were tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh when rain forced a stoppage. Randall said he's not sure what the plan is on finishing that game.