Three Rivers moves to semis
The six runs the Three Rivers All-Stars tallied in the first two innings was more than enough cushion for pitcher Jake Bowman.
Bowman and his Three Rivers teammates held Monument to three hits and one run as the All-Stars coasted through their opening Junior Boys (13-14 years old) District I tournament game 7-1 in El Jebel Tuesday.
“The defense and pitching were great,” said Three River coach T.J. Joiner. “We got a mammoth pitching performance from Jake.”
Bowman, who played for the Rockies this summer in Carbondale, pitched the complete seven innings to finish with four strikeouts. More importantly, however, was his ability to force primarily soft ground balls and battle out of any trouble.
Three Rivers – a team made up of players from Carbondale, Glenwood and Basalt – started quickly with three runs in the top of the first inning. A.J. Joiner began the inning with a double, and, after Beau Chicoine reached on an error, was driven in with a single by Bowman. Bowman and Chicoine eventually reached home on past balls.
Monument notched a pair of hits in the bottom of the frame, but couldn’t plate a runner. The two hits were the last given up by Bowman until the sixth inning.
Three Rivers doubled its lead in the second inning after Matt Miller was driven in from first thanks to a double by Parker Nieslanik. Tucker Hinch reached with a single and Joiner notched a pair of RBIs for a 6-0 edge after two innings.
“We wanted to jump on them and get a lead quick,” T.J. Joiner said. “We wanted to get the momentum and get the boys some confidence.”
Both teams stalled offensively in the middle innings due to strong defensive play off both benches.
“The ball just couldn’t find a hole after the second inning,” T.J. Joiner said.
While there weren’t many runs scored after the first two innings, Three Rivers had its opportunities. Monument stifled potential big innings for Three Rivers in both the third and sixth innings, doubling up sharply hit line drives.
In the third Jeremy Christner lined to first after Cody Jefferies had walked a batter earlier. With the bases loaded in the sixth inning Chicoine hit a line shot at the third baseman who stepped on the bag to catch Ben Pollack. Three Rivers did tally on run in the inning after an errant pickoff attempt to third by pitcher Blane Edgar allowed Hinch to jog home.
Monument’s only run came in the bottom of the sixth.
Three Rivers remains in the winner’s bracket and faces Grand Mesa Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Beau Chicoine will likely to start on the mound for Three Rivers. Grand Mesa defeated Orchard Mesa 9-2 Thursday evening.
In other Little League action, the Three Rivers Major Boys team defeated Montrose 6-4 at Grand Mesa in Grand Junction. Three Rivers plays a semifinal contest Thursday at 8 p.m.
The Three Rivers 9-10 boys fell 14-5 in five innings to Grand Mesa B. Three Rivers faces Fruita-Redlands in a loser-out game at the Monument Little League Complex in Grand Junction.
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