Orchard Mesa wins 9-10 girls title over Fruita
After experiencing the thrill of a 9-10 girls Little League state championship last year, Orchard Mesa pitcher Hannah Hutto knew the league was hoping for a repeat performance this summer.
“I was on the team last year, and I knew it was important to the whole Orchard Mesa (Little League,)” she said. “I knew they were shooting for us because we took state last year.”
Orchard Mesa, albeit with a few different faces, once again qualified for the state tournament with Monday’s 13-1, four-inning victory over Fruita.
Orchard Mesa won with a mix of solid pitching (Hutto threw a one-hitter) and consistent hitting (10 hits).
The only Fruita hit was single to center field by lead-off hitter Kali Kisselburgh, who later scored on a throwing error.
After the first inning, though, Hutto hit her spots and faced only nine more batters. She struck out the side in the third and fourth innings and finished the game with 11 strikeouts.
“I wanted to win the game,” Hutto said. “I wanted it for my team, so I just threw the rest (of the game) as hard as I can.”
Six of Orchard Mesa’s first seven batters in the second inning reached on a combination of three hits, one walk and two errors. All six scored.
The offense continued in the third when Hutto reached base on a single to left.
The next batter, Breck Smith, drove a ball over the head of right fielder Kambrian Colborn, which landed a few feet short of the fence.
Smith hustled around the bases and started to slow down as she got to third, but was waved on by coach Rich Shepherd for a inside-the-park home run.
“My coach just said to keep going and it went to the fence, so I just ran my heart out,” she said.
She didn’t expect the hit to be a home run, she said, “but then everybody said to go, so I went.”
Smith scored three runs and had three RBI. Hutto went three for three with three singles and scored three runs.
“The pitcher pitched it perfectly so we could hit the ball, and we were hitting the ball and we were running as hard as we could,” Smith said.
In three tournament games, Orchard Mesa outscored its opponents 50-3.
“The girls worked hard,” Shepherd said. “They practiced for three straight weeks working hard.”
The way Hutto looks at it, state is merely the next obstacle for her team.
“It’s just another challenge,” she said.
The Palisade Little League Junior boys used plenty of offense and pitching to capture the District 1 championship.
Palisade defeated Fruita 12-2 to win the title at Fruita Little League.
Jake Harsha pitched 52⁄3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out seven.
“Jake stayed within himself,” Palisade coach Dan Bollinger said. “He was focused.”
Harsha hit a walk-off double in the sixth to give Palisade a 10-run lead and end the game.
Cody Latham went 3 for 4 with a triple, Caleb Pfaff was 1 for 2 with a double and Damian Romero went 3 for 3.
Palisade defeated Monument 10-5 behind home runs by Dan McLean and Matt Seriani.
Palisade plays Montrose, which defeated Three Rivers 11-1, on Wednesday to reach the championship game.
Three Rivers plays Orchard Mesa and Monument faces Grand Mesa tonight in elimination games.
9-10 Boys A
Fruita defeated Monument 19-9 to force a second title game tonight in Cortez.
9-10 Boys B
Fruita defeated Palisade 27-5 and Three Rivers defeated Montrose 13-1 in four innings.
Palisade and Montrose were eliminated.
An elimination game between Fruita and Three Rivers was delayed by rain and lightning, with officials hoping to finish late Monday night.
The winner plays Grand Mesa tonight for a spot in Wednesday’s title game against Monument, which is undefeated.