Gene Taylor’s wins Colorado American Legion A state title
Losing to Rocky Mountain 22-5 in the wee hours Friday morning in the second round of the American Legion A state baseball tournament might have been the best thing to happen to Gene Taylor’s.
“After the Rocky Mountain game we just made a pact as a team to not mention that game again. It was in the past,” Taylor’s coach Dave Jahnke said Sunday after his club beat the Lobos 5-4 and 11-4 to win the Colorado American Legion A title. “They put everything else behind them and just started playing baseball.”
Gene Taylor’s won the first game behind a gutsy pitching performance by Casey Burns and a key play at the plate, then rode a pair of two-run doubles by Tyler Gastineau to take an early lead in the second game. Taylor’s advances to the regional tournament, which begins Thursday in Fairfield, Calif.
Walker Williams and Drew Bridges combined to pitch Taylor’s to the championship, with Williams selected the tournament’s outstanding pitcher. he threw 13 2/3 innings, allowing only four earned runs and struck out 12.
Bridges, who hit .450 with six RBI and one home run, was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He pitched eight innings, striking out 12, allowing two earned runs.
Burns got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eight inning of the first game and, up 5-4 in the ninth, fielded a chopper and threw out the potential tying run, with Gastineau blocking the plate.
Taylor’s put the title game out of reach early behind Gastineau’s bat.
“Tyler had two doubles in the first two innings, drove in two runs both times,” Jahnke said, “both with two out. They broke it open for us. He deserves a lot of credit; he’s been really playing well the last two weeks.”
With Williams keeping the Lobos in check, Taylor’s kept the pressure on offensively.
“We shut them down and we frustrated them,” Jahnke said. “They had been scoring something like 16 runs a game. The first game, not scoring that many runs was frustrating for them.
“Then we were the visitors in the second game and we jumped on them early and put pressure on them before they had time to blink.”
Taylor’s entered last year’s state tournament as the favorite, but was eliminated early. This season, a state title was the only goal.
“We talked about that throughout the year,” Jahnke said. “All those games we played were working toward that state title. We couldn’t pick a better time to play our best baseball.”
Monument Little League shook off its first-round loss and turned the tables on Northeast Oklahoma in a 12-1, four-inning rout in the Southwest Regional tournament in Waco, Texas.
Monument led 4-0 after two innings, scoring a pair of runs on a bases-loaded error in the first inning and Jax Nourse doubling home two runs in the second.
Zach Rush led off Monument’s eight-run third inning with a home run. Monument sent 15 men to the plate in the inning, scoring eight runs on eight hits and three Oklahoma errors.
Zack Owens struck out six batters in three innings, allowing one run on two hits. he walked only one. Nourse finished up, striking out all three men he faced in the fourth inning.
Monument plays Texas East, out of Lufkin, this afternoon, needing to win to advance out of Pool B.
The top two teams in each pool play in the semifinals. Monument and Texas East are both 1-1, with their losses coming to Texas West (2-0). Lake Charles, La., is 2-0 in Pool A.