Monument tops Palisade, advances to state tourney
The Monument Little League 10-11 boys knew the competition was going to be stiff.
Sunday in the championship game of the 10-11 Boys District 1 tournament, Monument had to knock off host team Palisade, who had won four straight games to force the final game.
“It’s always a struggle to get out of this district,” Monument coach Daren Biggs said. “The kids came to play ball.”
Despite a weather delay of nearly one hour, Monument couldn’t be stopped offensively, cruising to a 17-8 win to advance to the Colorado state tournament.
Heading into Sunday’s game, Palisade had the upper-hand having defeated Monument on Saturday 9-4. Palisade lost its first game of the tournament 9-8 to Three Rivers before reeling off four straight wins, including convincing victories over Montrose and Three Rivers.
“The loss (Saturday) was an eye-opener because (Palisade’s) a very good team,” Biggs said. “To lose a game to them wasn’t anything to hang our heads about. They compete with us every time we play them, and we knew it would be tough.”
Monument advanced to the state tournament last year as a 9-10 year old team, and jumped at the chance to return. Monument broke open a 1-1 game in the third inning when Ryan Biggs hit a grand slam to put Monument ahead 5-1. Monument added three more runs before lightning forced the delay on the field.
When play resumed, Monument picked up where it left off, stretching its lead to 11-1.
In the bottom of the third, Palisade responded with home runs from Max Noland and Nic White to cut the deficit to 11-6.
After giving up the runs, Monument pitcher Danny Antonucci held strong by keeping Palisade from making any more big rallies. Antonucci hit his pitch count in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Monument pushed the game out of reach in the top of the sixth inning when Kaden Heinsma’s RBI single gave Monument a 17-7 lead.
Monument advances to the 10-11 state tournament, which will be played in Colorado Springs.
“We were real close last year as we took second,” Biggs said. “Our pitching is a big strength for us and I don’t think any team can rattle us where we can’t go to someone else to get it done, and we if we get the bats going over there, we have a chance to do something great.”
9-10 A Boys: Monument defeated Grand Mesa for the second straight day and won the District 1 Championship with a 11-0 victory in Montrose.
9-10 B Boys: Monument Gray defeated Monument Blue 10-7 in seven innings at Monument Little League. Monument Gray defeated Monument Blue two straight nights to win the title.
Major Boys: Fruita stayed alive with an 8-6 win over Montrose in Cortez. Host team Cortez also advanced by defeating Monument. The two teams advance in the loser’s bracket and play today at 5:30 p.m. Also in Cortez, Orchard Mesa takes on Grand Mesa in the winner’s bracket at 5:30 p.m.
Junior Boys: District 1 avenged Saturday’s 11-3 loss to Colorado River Valley with a 10-8 victory at Orchard Mesa. The District 1 team is comprised of players from Grand Mesa and Palisade Little League.