Three Rivers 11-year-olds play big-league style
PALISADE – Bunts, sacrifices, hit-and-runs, and delayed steals are not usually main offensive weapons for Little League baseball teams. However, the success Three Rivers has had with small ball throughout the District 1, 11-year-old tournament might change some opposing teams’ tactics.A successful one-out sacrifice by Dylan Rakowski with Zack Mobillian aboard in the fourth inning started the biggest offensive output from either team in Three Rivers’ 5-2 win over Fruita-Redlands Tuesday.”In our program, we play small ball all season long. So when they come to all-star season, they’ve been playing that part of the game,” explained team manager Eric Gross. “So we’re real excited to see these kids run it. It really puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”After losing its first game of the tournament last week, Three Rivers has run itself back into contention for a shot at playing for the district championship. Tuesday’s victory leaves Three Rivers one step away from Thursday’s district title game. It will assure itself a slot in that contest if it defeats Grand Mesa in tonight’s elimination-round contest.The winner faces Monument for the district crown and a state tournament berth. On Tuesday, Monument defeated Grand Mesa 13-8. Mobillian, who moved to third on Rakowski’s bunt when Fruita’s defense fell asleep, scored on losing pitcher Jayton Cline’s wild pitch. The play broke the 2-all tie Fruita had clawed to in the top of the inning.After regaining the lead Three Rivers continued to apply pressure.Trey Derby put himself in scoring position on back-to-back Fruita infield errors. Tanner Nieslanik singled and scooted into second without a play. Then Kenny Resch broke the game open with his two-run single. The base hit made up for putting himself in a sticky jam as a pitcher.Taking over for Rakowski in the fourth, Three Rivers’ defense bailed Resch out of trouble when Derby, Three Rivers’ third baseman, and Shea Nieslanik forced out Fruita runner Matt Bishop at second.Later, after Jayton Cline scored on a defensive interference call, catcher Carder Ullom and Derby plucked runner Skyley Bittle off at third to eliminate another threat.Resch and Rakowski combined for a five-hitter with four strikeouts between them. In his final two innings of work, Resch, who earned the win, didn’t allow a Fruita runner to go past second base. Rakowski, in three innings, gave up an unearned run.”Both pitchers did really well today,” Gross said. “I’m really proud of those boys.”
The Three Rivers Junior Little League baseball team hammered out one win and one loss on Sunday before being knocked out of the District tournament with an 8-2 loss to Craig in Cortez.On Sunday, Three Rivers downed Orchard Mesa 18-8 and Grand Mesa 8-6. Alex Guenther pitched four innings in the win against Orchard Mesa, while Luke Jacob and Walker Moriarty each chipped in an inning of relief. Corey Ostrander and Anderson Cole each scored three runs for Three Rivers and Jake Loertscher had three RBIs.Cole took the loss against Grand Mesa after giving up five runs in five innings of work. Guenther smacked three hits and Moriarty and Cody Chick each scored two runs. On Monday, Three Rivers was shut out until the sixth inning of its seven-inning game by five different Cortez pitchers. By the time Moriarty and Ostrander scored in the sixth, Three Rivers was already down 8-0. Ostrander took the loss for Three Rivers after giving up four runs in four innings of work.
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Coal Ridge could just pull off a 3A league championship if the Titans take care of their own business and get a little help from afar.