Monument wins 10-11 Boys title
Just call him the hammer.
For the first 6 2/3 innings of the District 1 Little League Baseball 10-11 Boys Division championship game, Josiah Reyez’s curveball left batters corkscrewing in the dirt as he carried a shutout performance.
The Monument Little League pitcher was finally touched up with two outs in the bottom of sixth when a double, an error and a second double tied it at 2-2.
He used three power fastballs in a row to force extra innings, then led off extras with a home run to straightaway center field.
Four innings later, Monument finally topped Three Rivers 6-3 with a three-run single-turned inside-the-park-home-run by Kelby Boone in the top of the 10th inning.
The lengthy battle secured a spot for Monument in the Colorado state tournament at the end of the month in Cortez.
Monument’s first game is July 25 at 10 a.m.
“We’re always talking about why we do this to ourselves,” Monument coach Brandon Cruz said. “We had a nine-inning game like this last year. But we’ve been 10-running a lot of teams, and close games like this are what really test us, and we knew what to expect coming in. It was our one (No. 1 pitcher) versus their one, and we expected it to be a low-scoring game.”
Kelby Boone’s inside-the-park home run came from the eighth spot in the lineup. Cruz said that he’s come to expect big things from the back half of his batting order.
“It helped when we had Riley Cook leading off the back end of our order, and next thing you know we’re rolling,” Cruz said.
Boone was a late-inning substitution and finished 1 for 2.
“All I was thinking about was getting home after I hit it,” Boone said. “I knew we needed the runs. I’m really excited that we won, but we need to get it done at state, too.”
Reyez finished 3 for 5 and notched his first home run of the tournament, something that came later than expected for the Monument cleanup hitter.
“It really surprised me how long it took,” Cruz said. “Sometimes when we’re taking batting practice he’ll hit five, six, seven out in a row. Tonight he was just swinging the bat well.”
Although the hitting has been consistent for Monument, center fielder Carter Cloutier said it was a well-rounded approach that led to the district championship.
“Hitting, pitching, fielding, basically everything,” Cloutier said of the team’s strengths. “We were pretty confident coming into the game. But we knew we would have to play pretty hard because they were going to give their best effort after we beat them pretty bad in the first game.
“At the end of the game, I was just saying, ‘Keep going.’ When (Boone) hit third, I knew we finally had it.”
Three Rivers earned a spot in the championship game of the District 1 Little League 9-10 Boys Division with a 6-2 win over Fruita on Thursday night.
The win earns Three Rivers a rematch against Monument, the only unbeaten team left in the double-elimination tournament, at 7 tonight at the Orchard Mesa Little League fields.
Monument won the first encounter 12-2 on Wednesday.
Delta beat Orchard Mesa 7-0 in an elimination game Thursday night to advance to the title game in the Little League Junior Girls Division District 1 tournament.
Delta will face Colorado River Valley of Rifle at 7 tonight at the Orchard Mesa Little League fields. CRV claims the title with a win, but if Delta wins, a second game will have to be played Saturday night for the championship.