Four teams stave off elimination to force second title games today

Colorado River Valley’s Bailey Hoffmeister lays out to score Saturday night during the second inning of the team’s 11-3 victory over District 1 at Orchard Mesa Little League.

Toward the end of a long week of playoff baseball, Little League managers are checking, double-checking and even triple-checking pitch counts.

There’s someone in the pressbox whose responsibility it is to track every pitch. Each team has its own pitch-count monitor, and the coaches are keeping track in the dugout.

Pitchers are on a strict pitch count to protect their young arms, and when you toss in the possibility of a second championship game the next day, coaches are working the mental game as much as coaching what’s happening on the field.

Saturday night, that was going on in four baseball championship games, where every team that had fought back through the losers’ bracket won, forcing another title game today.

It happened at Orchard Mesa Little League, where Colorado River Valley took advantage of control problems by District 1 pitchers, scoring four runs in the second inning on wild pitches and passed balls on the way to an 11-3 victory. The teams play again tonight at 6 for the district championship.

Skyler Hancock started for District 1 and was fine early, but ran into control problems in the second inning and was replaced with two outs, down four runs.

Austin Terry got the District 1 All-Stars out of that inning, but CRV’s Teig Hauer singled home a run in the three-run third for a 7-0 lead.

Four more runs crossed in the fourth, when District 1 used three pitchers trying to keep the game close, but three errors and three walks helped Colorado River Valley build an 11-0 lead.

Two outs from ending the game early on the run rule, District 1 came back, scoring runs on back-to-back base hits to right-center by Terry and Joshua Hovis.

Hancock, a tall, hard-throwing right-hander, returned to pitch for District 1 in the fourth, set CRV down in order in the fifth and got out of a jam in the sixth. Terry drove in another run in the seventh, but with two out, Hovis flied out to center to force the second title game.

9-10 A Boys: Monument avenged Thursday’s one-run loss to Grand Mesa with a 13-5 win, forcing a second championship game at 5:30 tonight at Montrose.

9-10 B Boys: Monument Gray, which lost to Monument Blue in the first round, defeated its league counterpart 9-4. The teams play again at 7 tonight at Monument for the title.

10-11 Boys: Palisade won its fourth straight elimination game, 9-4 over Monument, so the teams will play at 5:30 this evening at Palisade to reach the state tournament in Colorado Springs.

Major Boys: Orchard Mesa’s Joe Monyano hit a three-run home run in a 20-4 win over Monument in Cortez. Andrew Martinez struck out five batters and got late relief help from Thomas Eaton.

Orchard Mesa plays Grand Mesa, which defeated Fruita 6-0, in the semifinals on Monday.

At 3 this afternoon, Fruita plays Montrose and Monument faces Cortez in elimination games.


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