Little League: Major All-Stars fall, take 2nd in state
DURANGO — One big inning by North Boulder proved the difference in keeping the Three Rivers Little League Majors baseball team from playing at least one more state tournament game.
North Boulder’s eight-run third inning rallied it from an early three-run deficit on Tuesday, and it proved to be the difference in a 10-4 state-title game loss for Three Rivers.
“If it wasn’t for that inning, we’re at least right in the game,” Majors coach Nate Grinzinger said. “But you have to give credit to their team. They swung the bat well tonight.”
Three Rivers, which opened the game with a 3-0 lead, fell behind 8-3 in the third inning following the Boulder team’s eight-run frame. Wheatley Nieslanik had an RBI double in the bottom of the third inning to pull Three Rivers within four runs, but the local team could come no closer.
Ryan Conley, according to Grinzinger, pitched his best game of the season and allowed only four earned runs in the six-inning outing. Garrett Dollahan had two hits for the Majors (12-year-olds).
“Not too many Little League teams from this valley have been able to say they took second place in the state,” the coach said. “It shows that Three Rivers isn’t a team that people can look past anymore.”
Also falling in baseball tournament play was the Major/Minors (10 to 11 years old) and the Juniors (13 to 14). Both teams were eliminated from their respective state tournaments on Monday. The Three Rivers softball Juniors won its state tournament on Sunday and will play in the Southwest Regional tournament in Santa Fe, New Mexico, starting on Friday.
The Major/Minors squad fell in their tournament semifinal on Monday to Cherry Creek, which reached the state title game with its 13-1 win against the Three Rivers squad.
The local team had a chance to cut into its 4-1 deficit in the fifth inning but was unable to score with the bases loaded. Cherry Creek took advantage in the next inning and scored enough runs for the final margin of victory.
“I’m definitely proud of the kids,” said Major/Minors coach Tom Moore, who noted that the Cherry Creek team to whom his squad lost was playing its 61st game of the summer. “The teams in the Denver area are just stacked. We didn’t play our best, but we played very hard and lost against a high-quality team.”
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The Roaring Fork High School baseball team was deadlocked with the visiting Gunnison Cowboys in Carbondale through the final three frames Tuesday, before falling 16-9 in nine innings.