CRV All Stars beat Orchard Mesa at Little League tourney
GRAND JUNCTION – Be aggressive.That was the mood the Colorado River Valley All Stars took into Saturday’s major boys Little League tournament game with Orchard Mesa.The strategy worked. Colorado River base runners challenged Orchard Mesa’s defense repeatedly and ran themselves to a 15-3 win stopped by mercy rule after four innings.Taking advantage of five Orchard Mesa errors, the team of Rifle and Silt residents overcame a 3-0 first inning deficit by scoring five runs in its half of the inning.Colorado River posted additional five spots in the next two innings for the final score.Manager James Ray said the difference in the team’s play from Friday’s 21-2 loss to Fruita-Redlands came to feeling comfortable with the environment.”We started out with the jitters because we have never played at this level,” he said of the team’s opening effort. “We talked to them today. We told them to be aggressive and it paid off.”Additional help came from Orchard Mesa starting pitcher Brandon Young’s inability to find the plate.Young was pulled from the mound after Colorado Rivers’ first two hitters – Nate Schilt and Kai Steinwinder – reached base on a hit pitch and a walk. Both scored on back-to-back singles from Tristan Quigley and Danny Bartels.Bartels scored the game-winning run after Quigley tied the game at 3-all on Orchard Mesa reliever J.C. Archuleta a few pitches later.The two-run lead was enough to put Bartels, Colorado Rivers’ pitcher into a comfort zone.Settling down after a rough first frame, Bartels limited Orchard Mesa to two scattered base hits in the remaining three innings of play along with recording four of five strikeouts he had in the game.Orchard Mesa threatened once. Kyle Kukus advanced to third on a stolen base after hitting a two-out double to the left-center field fence. Bartels stopped the rally with an inning-ending ground out to second base.Quigley and Bartels both had two hits in three at-bats, scored three runs and one RBI to pace the offense.Colorado River’s production caused an upswing of emotion they hope to carry into today’s noon elimination bracket game. “All they had to see was they could play at this level,” Ray said. “Hopefully they’ve seen what they could do and they can continue to do it.”Southwest Colorado tops Three Rivers 17-4 in the 9-10 boys divisionA lack of control from Three Rivers pitching staff in the third inning allowed Southwest Colorado (Cortez) to score nine runs and pull out to a 12-2 lead in Saturday’s opening round tournament game at the Monument Little League complex.The loss dropped Three Rivers to a loser’s out bracket game today at noon with Montrose.Chase Nieslanik, who had taken over for starter Zach Ritchie in the second, walked four batters and gave up four hits, which included a two-run double by Southwest Colorado shortstop Randy Haley in the third.The rally halted all momentum Three Rivers build up when it pulled to 3-2 deficit in the second after trailing 3-0 before getting a chance to hit in the first.Brian Burridge scored Three Rivers first run on Andrew Bowles single in the second after steals of second and third base. Bowles, who had two of Three Rivers five hits in the game, scored from third as the front end of a double steal with teammate Caleb Thornton on first.Three Rivers posted solo tallies in the third and fourth innings on Southwest Colorado miscues. Nieslanik came in on a passed ball. Bowles scored on a wild pitch after tripling to right center.Haley went 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI’s a double and a triple for Southwest Colorado. Three Cortez pitchers struck out seven Three Rivers hitters. Raudy Castillo, Southwest Colorado’s second pitcher, earned the win.
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.