How the West was won: Eight-run sixth inning gives Palisade WSL title

Ethan Kraai was hard to hit Thursday, finishing with 11 strikeouts, but Palisade got enough bats on baseballs to top Delta 10-8.

Mike Seriani is the type of athlete who gets it done when it counts.

Thursday at Suplizio Field, the Palisade High School baseball player bounced back from giving up six runs in 11⁄3 innings to spark an eight-run rally in the sixth inning that propelled the Bulldogs (14-5, 11-3 Western Slope League) to the 10-8 win over Delta.

With Palisade trailing 8-2, Seriani led off the sixth with a triple. Later in the inning, his number was called again, and Seriani delivered with a two-run double that tied the game at 8-8.

“Mike’s our captain and team leader,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “Mike’s a senior, and it wasn’t his day on the mound, but it was his day at the plate.”

Seriani put the Bulldogs in a hole early though, giving up five extra-base hits in two innings. Led by a Nathan Trujillo two-run double, the Panthers jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Seriani was replaced by Cody Krabbe, who got the final two batters out in the second inning, then allowed only two runs the rest of the game.

“They hit me hard, but Krabbe came in and shut them down,” Seriani said. “It’s nice knowing you don’t have to do everything, you have a whole team behind you.”

Krabbe looked to turn the game into a pitcher’s duel with Delta’s Ethan Kraai. The Panthers right-hander gave up two runs in the third inning, but struck out the next six batters. Kraai finished with 11 strikeouts.

“He pitched a really good game,” Moore said. “But we didn’t give up and everyone knew we could hit that pitcher.”

The hits came in the sixth inning — with a little help from the Panthers. Delta had two critical errors, which allowed the Bulldogs to rally to take the lead. In addition to the errors leading to runs, Palisade added RBI singles by Jordan Salazar and Jeremy Brannon.

Seriani said Kraai is such a hard thrower that it worked to the Bulldogs advantage.

“He’s a good pitcher, but he supplies the power for you,” Seriani said. “If you put the ball in play, good things will happen.”

Krabbe finished out his strong night of relief by getting three straight outs, including a strikeout of Christian Kathrein to end the game.

“I was happy we got ahead, then went in there and threw as hard as I could,” Krabbe said. “We’ve been able to come back all year, and we have a lot of heart.”

The Bulldogs’ gritty play earned them a season sweep of Delta, which guarantees them the WSL title. Moore said the emotional win should give the Bulldogs plenty of momentum heading into the playoffs.

“We needed this win to give us a jumpstart into the playoffs,” Moore said. “The kids are really excited and proud.”


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