Palisade experiences the highs, lows of Little League in victory
The Palisade Junior boys Little League team felt a mix of emotions in Thursday’s 15-13 win against Grand Mesa in the District 1 tournament.
On one hand, there was the pride of scoring 13 runs in an inning and taking a 15-4 lead after four.
On the other, the team also watched the lead dwindle as their opponent scored nine runs in a two-inning span to narrow the gap.
“I think we kind of lost our heads,” Palisade catcher Cody Latham said. “We got too cocky and it was going to be like our last game and be 22 to 6 again, but we got too cocky and they came back on us.”
For Palisade, the highs came early.
After allowing one run in the top of the third inning, Palisade started the bottom half with eight straight batters reaching, part of a stretch that saw 13 of the first 14 batters reach base, all of whom scored.
The big inning started with a walk to starting pitcher Zebulon White, Tristen Holmes reached on an error on a bunt, and Latham and Jay Shuman both reached on infield singles.
“We’ve got some speedy kids on our team and the right thing happened at the right time with weak ground balls,” Palisade coach Dan Bollinger said. “We just happened to have the right kids running to beat out those throws.”
The first out came on the ninth batter of the inning. It wasn’t until Grand Mesa put in Skyler Hancock, the team’s third pitcher of the inning, that they were able to get the final two outs.
After the initial barrage, Skyler Hancock came in and got the final two outs of the inning.
Hancock pitched the remainder of the game, finishing with six strikeouts and two runs allowed in his three innings of work.
Grand Mesa coach Jason Condit credited Hancock with turning the momentum in his team’s favor.
“He inspires all the kids and once he starts striking people out, it just gets them all excited and it’s time to play ball,” Condit said.
After allowing the 13-run inning, Grand Mesa fought back immediately with three runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth to narrow the score to 15-7, which kept the game from ending in a 10-run mercy rule.
“I threw pretty good kids at them hoping to 10-run them after four and a half,” Bollinger said. “They just started hitting. We had some walks, and that never helps, but I tip my hat to them — they hit the ball.
“I can’t say it’s something we did wrong, it’s something they did right.”
In the top of the sixth inning, Grand Mesa’s first six batters reached — four on walks, one on a hit and one thanks to catcher’s interference. All six later scored.
After one play, with multiple errors that scored three, Luis Arrevalo came in to get three outs to end the inning, and pitched a scoreless seventh.
Grand Mesa plays Fruita at 3 p.m. today and Palisade plays Monument at 5:30 p.m.
The winner of the Palisade-Monument game advances to the championship game July 10.
Fruita beat Orchard Mesa 9-7 to advance to the championship game in the Major girls bracket.
Fruita will play Grand Mesa today at 5:30 p.m. but will need two wins for the championship in the double-elimination tournament.
Grand Mesa beat Fruita 7-5 on Wednesday.