Title run falls short | PostIndependent.com

Title run falls short

Phil Sandoval
Post Independent Staff

By Phil Sandoval

Post Independent Staff

GRAND JUNCTION ” The wave of optimism Three Rivers rode throughout the District 1 Major Boys tournament crested a hitter short Tuesday.

Three Rivers battled its way back through the loser-out bracket with four straight wins to a shot at the district championship, but the comeback effort was thwarted by Grand Mesa late in a 5-3 loss. With the victory, Grand Mesa finishes the double-elimination tournament unbeaten and with the title.

“We fought as hard as we could, but came up a little short,” Three Rivers coach John Blounts said. “We spotted them a few runs in the first inning and hit five or six batters in the game, which is very uncharacteristic for us. We have great pitching, it just wasn’t there for us tonight.”

After Grand Mesa took an early 3-0 lead, an error, followed by RBI singles from Three Rivers’ Jake Loertscher and Scott Hoffman in the third inning knotted the game at 3-3.

Grand Mesa regained the lead in its half of the inning when Joe Smith scored on a base hit after belting a leadoff double. Grand Mesa added an insurance run in the fifth for the final score.

Three Rivers didn’t go down easy.

Down 4-3, the team had the go-ahead run on second in the fourth inning only to come up empty.

A second opportunity arose for Three Rivers to gain a tie in the fifth. Gus Burg got himself in scoring position at second base only to see the short rally die a batter later.

“I was really proud of them,” Blounts said. “They played hard and never gave up.”

Blounts also singled out the play of Luke Jacob throughout the tournament both on the mound and at the plate. Blounts pitched four innings Tuesday, coming in after Grand Mesa led 3-0.

“Luke Jacob really carried our team in pitching and hitting,” Blounts said. “His bat was really on fire and he came through when we needed him” on the mound.

Three Rivers finished the tournament with a 4-2 record.

An unexpected high hop on a Grand Mesa infield grounder was the determining factor in dashing Three Rivers’ hopes of advancing in the Junior Boys District 1 Tournament.

Grand Mesa scored five runs in the seventh inning to eliminate Three Rivers 15-11 Tuesday in Grand Junction.

Scott Clow’s roller to the left side of the infield hopped over Three Rivers shortstop Corey Ostrander to open the seventh inning. Two errors, a passed ball, followed by a wild pitch and untimely walks by Three Rivers pitchers Kevin Flohr and Matt Seaver allowed Grand Mesa to break the game open after Three Rivers tied the game at 10-10 in the sixth.

The misplays allowed Grand Mesa to score five unearned runs without a base hit in the inning.

Hunter McCallum culminated Three Rivers’ earlier rally with a game-tying RBI single that scored Keenan Hartert, who doubled, from second base. Hartert’s extra-base hit scored Aaron Cousineau, who reached base on a Grand Mesa throwing error.

Monument No. 2 downed the Three Rivers No. 1 team 13-4 in the semifinal game of the 9- to 10-year-old District tournament Tuesday in Montrose.

The loss eliminated Three Rivers from the tournament, which finished with a record of 3-2.

Montrose advances to the championship game tonight against the winner of the semifinal from pool B game between Montrose and Grand Mesa, played Tuesday night. No score was available at press time.

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