Three Rivers shuts out Grand Mesa in District semis
EL JEBEL – The River Valley Junior All-Stars moved within one victory of qualifying for the state tournament after a convincing 10-0 six-inning victory over Grand Mesa at the District 1 Little League Tournament Thursday evening at Crawford Field in El Jebel.
Three Rivers had its second-consecutive strong pitching performance, this time from right-hander Beau Chicione. Chicione gave up just three hits and one walk in the game, while keeping the Grand Mesa batters on their heels throughout the evening.
“It was a great pitching performance once again,” Three Rivers head coach T.J. Joiner said. “We had a great battery with Parker Nieslanik behind the plate and Beau. Parker called a great game.”
Offensively, Three Rivers again got off to a quick start, albeit with some help from the Grand Mesa pitching staff.
With the game scoreless in the top of the second inning Grand Mesa pitcher Tyson Aragon walked three straight batters then hit Tucker Hinch to force in Jamie Wiricler for the contest’s first score. Grand Mesa’s Luke Clayton entered the game in relief and struck out A.J. Joiner, but walked Chicione to force in Jeremy Christner.
The second inning was more of the same for Clayton. Clayton issued four walks in the frame, two of which forced in runners. Kyle Raaflaub also tallied a sacrifice-fly RBI, and a wild pickoff throw to first plated two more runners for a 7-0 Three Rivers advantage in the third inning.
“They had three different pitchers, and I think the heat got to them and they had trouble finding the plate,” T.J. Joiner said.
Grand Mesa gave up 12 walks total in the contest.
Three Rivers added two more runs in the fifth inning with an RBI double by A.J. Joiner and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Chicione. A run in the sixth sealed the contest.
“We had great team defense and we challenged the kids to get out on top early and that’s what they did,” T.J. Joiner said.
The championship game is at 4 p.m. against the winner of today’s Orchard Mesa-Grand Mesa game at 5:30 p.m. The opponent will have to defeat Three Rivers twice in order to win the tournament, with the winner qualifying for the state tournament in Denver July 20-24. Jake Bowman is scheduled to start on the mound for Three Rivers.
“We’ve got one more game to win before we accomplish the goal we want,” T.J. Joiner said. “It’s got to come through us because we’re undefeated. If we win Saturday it’s over.”
If Three Rivers loses Saturday, the final game will be played Sunday.
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The brackets are set for the 12-team 4A girls lacrosse state championships, and the Roaring Fork Rams are dancing as the No. 9 seed.