Three Rivers routs Cortez in District 1 title game | PostIndependent.com
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Three Rivers routs Cortez in District 1 title game

One thing’s certain about the 13- to 14-year-old Three Rivers Little League All Stars – they know how to win.On Saturday, the team earned its second straight Junior Boys District 1 tournament championship in as many years with an 11-1 mercy-rule shortened win over host Cortez.Team manager Dan Chicoine said a key to the team’s success is the length of time the team has played together.Four players – Zack Zerbato, Chicoine’s son, Beau, Tucker Hinchcliff and Kyle Raaflaub – have been teammates for five years.The skein of titles started when they won the U10 Triple Crown tournament in Glenwood in 1999.As 11-year-olds the following year, the foursome repeated the feat. And banding together with other Three Rivers Little League players, the local program won its first Division 1 tournament championship.After falling short in 2001, Three Rivers regained its prominence as the bulk of the 2001 squad moved to the Junior Boys division last year. They went on to win the 2002 District 1 title and finished second at the state tournament.And in their final year before moving on to high school baseball, the Three Rivers boys steamrolled their way through this year’s tournament.In four games, Three Rivers outscored their opponents 46-11.En route to the championship game, the area team polished off Monument of Grand Junction 11-3, defeated Cortez 12-7 and routed Grand Mesa, also of Grand Junction, 12-0.In Saturday’s rematch against Cortez, winners of the elimination bracket, the contest was after the second inning.Tim Cashel rocked a bases-loaded triple in the first for a 3-0 lead. Hinchcliff raised Three Rivers’ margin to 5-0 on a two-run, extra-base hit that was part of an eight-run, second inning assault.Three Rivers sent 12 batters to the plate in the second.Rory Johnson, Raaflaub, Chicoine and Cashel drove in runs in the rally.Zerbato allowed only two singles to Cortez in five innings with five strikeouts. He finished tournament play with a 2-0 win-loss record. Cashel was Three Rivers’ best offensive weapon. He had eight hits in 10 at bats in the tournament. Zerbato was 9-for-14. Chicoine had the most hits with 10.By winning the district tournament, Three Rivers advances to the Major Boys state tournament, to be held in Fraser, starting July 19.-In Grand Junction, Three Rivers’ “A” team advanced up in the 9-10 District 1 tournament elimination bracket.After breaking a 2-all tie with the Cortez Red Sox by scoring three runs in the third inning, Three Rivers coasted to a 9-2 win, adding four tallies in the fifth.Michael Patton was 3-for-3 at the plate. Blake Scherer, Rafa Fabela and Scott Hoffman had two hits each.Gus Berg picked up the win, limiting Cortez to five hits with six strikeouts.The results of Sunday’s game against the Cortez Mariners were unavailable to the Post Independent.


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