Grand Mesa defeats Montrose to force rematch for trip to state
By KENT MINCER
Your average Major boys Little League baseball pitcher tends to tense up when opposing batters reach base.
Not so Sunday for Grand Mesa’s Dalton Weinischke.
Weinischke bowed his neck every time a Montrose batter got on base in Sunday’s District 1 championship game at Monument.
As a result, the two teams will play again tonight, the winner advancing to the state Little League tournament.
Weinischke gave up just four hits in holding Montrose scoreless as Grand Mesa won 2-0 to force the if-necessary game.
“The way he pitched when he got runners on, he stayed composed,” Grand Mesa manager Keith Corra said.
Montrose had scored four runs in the sixth inning to rally for an 8-7 victory during the teams’ first tournament meeting Thursday.
Grand Mesa got all the runs it needed in the bottom of the second inning. Jeremy
Champlin led off with a home run and Cole Rupe, who reached base on a single to right, scored on Cameron Campbell’s base hit to center.
Montrose got runners aboard in five of the six innings but couldn’t advance one past second.
“I know I’ve got to get the job done,” Weinischke said.
He had plenty of backup.
“I know I’ve got great defense,” he said.
Indeed, the Grand Mesa defense came up with big play after big play to hold Montrose in check.
“(Weinischke) got the ground balls,” Corra said of inducing outs to end innings.
Montrose also got a solid outing from its pitcher, Kyle Freeburg, who scattered six hits and struck out five.
Grand Mesa and Montrose face off for a third time with the title on the line at 5:30 p.m. at Monument.
With both teams expected to throw their staff aces, “I would expect the same thing,” Corra said of another close game.
In the Junior boys tournament at Orchard Mesa, Rifle avenged a loss to Three Rivers on Wednesday by defeating Three Rivers in the losers’ bracket 10-5. Rifle plays Cortez in the championship at 8 p.m.
Also at Orchard Mesa, Grand Mesa remained unbeaten in the Senior boys division with a 9-3 victory over Fruita.
Fruita plays Orchard Mesa at 5:30 p.m. in the losers’ bracket.