Three River Majors win semifinal matchup
GRAND JUNCTION – Once Three Rivers manager Jeff Jensen writes Zack Zerbato’s name on the team’s lineup card as the starting pitcher he can relax.
“This team can win any game when he’s on the hill,” Jensen noted.
And for the second time in as many Zerbato starts at the Major Boys Little League District 1 tournament, Jensen was right.
The Glenwood Springs resident kept Three Rivers unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament with an 11 strikeout, three-hit gem against Fruita-Redlands while coasting to a 11-1 win Friday night at the Grand Mesa Little League complex.
The victory advanced Three Rivers to tonight’s district championship game against the winner of Saturday’s loser-out contest between Grand Mesa and Fruita-Redlands.
Tonight’s game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Zerbato helped himself by smacking a gargantuan home run over the left field fence in the top half of the first inning.
“I felt good about what we could do at the plate,” said Jensen after seeing Zerbato’s blast land in some shrubbery in a day-care center across the street from the ball park.
Three Rivers finished the night with 10 hits, chasing losing pitcher Cody Bell from the game after a 10-batter, five-run assault in the fourth inning.
By that point, the game was pretty much over.
Staked to a lead, Zerbato was almost perfect. Except for plunking Fruita’s Luke Snell with a errant pitch in the second, Zerbato faced one batter over the minimum after three innings.
As Zerbato fired zeroes, Three Rivers raised its lead.
Five of the team’s first six hitters in the third inning reached base.
Zerbato, naturally, had a hand in the rally. He, Jake Kinney and Barrett Jensen had RBI-singles as part of the onslaught.
Jensen and Kinney also had strong performances on Friday. In four plate appearances Jensen walked and had three hits. Kinney finished with three singles in four at-bats.
Three Rivers sealed the outcome in the fourth.
The team widened it’s lead to 9-1. Zerbato had his third hit and third RBI of the game in the inning.
After allowing an unearned run in the bottom of the inning. He closed the game by striking out five of Fruita-Redlands’ last six batters.
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