Three Rivers baseball sees run come to an end in semifinals
PALISADE – Unity. That’s the core lesson of Little League Baseball.Wins and losses are quickly forgotten. What remains is the sense of team every player takes out of a season. The Three Rivers All-Star 11-year-olds lost their district tournament semifinal game 9-5 to Grand Mesa Wednesday and it ended their season.No doubt there were pangs of sadness inside Three Rivers’ dugout when Grand Mesa recorded the game’s final out. The emotion didn’t linger too long.Instead of picking up their equipment and zooming back to their homes in Glenwood, Carbondale or Basalt, the players and their supporters spent a lot of time together.Not because they had to. It’s because the Three Rivers team wanted to. The players, coaching staff and parents shared a lot of time with one another for nearly a month. Over that period, friendships were developed, families got closer, everyone rallied around each other – through good times and bad.It’s a good trade-off for a defeat.Despite the final score, the game was not a one-sided affair. Three Rivers overcame an early 2-0 deficit when it scored five runs in the fourth inning. The All-Stars stole a couple of runs with their speed when Grand Mesa was napping, cashed in another on back-to-back errors and added three more on RBI base hits from Carder Ullom, Zach Mobilian and Foster Gross.Three Rivers, however, couldn’t contain Grand Mesa’s hitting attack. The kids out of Grand Junction erased the lead in the fifth, then put the game away by adding four runs in the sixth.The top of Grand Mesa’s lineup must have looked like Mays, Aaron, Ruth and Bonds to Three Rivers pitchers. Grand Mesa’s No. 1-6 hitters combined for 14 of the 15 hits it had in the contest. Winning pitcher Cody Jensen had the only extra-base hit of the rally. It sparked run-producing singles by Grand Mesa’s following three hitters to wrap up the contest.Despite posting a five-spot in the fourth, offense was Three Rivers’ problem. Jensen and starter Greg Pilling only gave up three hits between them. All three of Three Rivers’ hits led to runs. This time it wasn’t enough. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.The kids had fun extending their season, which started back in mid-April on separate teams, to a fourth month.It should also spark the players to a new challenge when they return next year.
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