Three Rivers falls to Academy in title tilt
AURORA – The Three Rivers All-Star team couldn’t keep pace with defending champion Academy of Colorado Springs.
Academy beat Three Rivers for the second time in the tournament Tuesday evening, handing the All-Stars a 13-0 defeat in the championship game of the Colorado State Junior League Baseball Tournament held at the Arapahoe Little League Complex.
“We wish we gave them a better game, but we played a really well-oiled machine out there,” said Three Rivers coach T.J. Joiner of the Academy team.
The victory qualifies Academy for the regional tournament to be held in Alexandria, La.
While Joiner wasn’t overjoyed with a second-place finish at State, the squad of 13 and 14 year olds can take solace in being the first Three Rivers team ever to win a game at the state tournament, not to mention advancing to the championship round.
“We knew we were facing a tough team from Colorado Springs,” Joiner said, “and we were definitely the second-best team here. There’s no doubt. We played Academy tougher than anyone else in the first game.”
Academy gave up just two runs in its three tournament games, one coming against Three Rivers in the semifinal-round game which Academy won 7-1. Academy’s beat Platte County 9-1 in the opening round.
Academy jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first three innings against Three Rivers, with two runs in the first, one in the second and two in the third.
Three Rivers settled down defensively following the third inning, but couldn’t muster the offense.
“We just couldn’t get the big play,” Joiner said. “One good rally for us and we’re back in it.”
Three Rivers scattered five hits in the contest, with Jake Bowman, A.J. Joiner, Beau Chicoine, Matt Miller and Nick Harris accounting for the base knocks.
Academy put the game away with an offensive explosion in the sixth inning. With two outs in the bottom of the frame, Academy tallied eight runs. The game was called due to the 10-run rule after the sixth inning.
“I’m real proud of the kids,” Joiner said. “We’re not hanging our heads, we just wish we could have given them a better game.”
Academy should be a force again next season, with nine 13 year olds on their roster.
Three Rivers has three players returning next season in Tucker Hinch, Chicoine and Kyle Raaflaub.
“We lost the game, but we took second at State,” Joiner said. “I’d like to thank all the fans and relatives, the league president Steve Martin, and the whole coaching staff – Mark Hinch, Scott Zerfoss and Dan Chicoine. Then I’d like to thank the players for a great season.”
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The 40th annual Demon Invitational track and field meet takes place Saturday, May 15 at Stubler Memorial Field.