They’re just pitching in
Pitchers lift Monument to 11-year-old Boys crown
Variety is essential to success for the Monument 11-year-old Boys Little League team. With each new inning Wednesday came a new pitcher.
What didn’t vary was the results: outs.
Monument used four different pitchers for each of the four innings played, and they combined to allow only three hits as Monument defeated Fruita 11-1 for the District 1 championship and a berth in next week’s state tournament.
The quartet of pitchers struck out five batters and walked none at the Monument Little League baseball diamond, but there was one moment of tension.
Fruita, trailing 2-0 in the second inning, put runners on second and third against Levi Prall, but Prall struck out the next two hitters to get out of the jam. That appeared to be Fruita’s best chance to get to Monument.
Using several pitchers was Monument manager Trent Prall’s strategy from the beginning.
“Everyone on the team was picked because they could pitch,” Prall said. “That provides the coaching staff with a lot of flexibility, and we just kept rolling through the pitchers we had planned to (use).”
Monument also brought its bats, collecting 12 hits, including four doubles. Shortstop Dominic Trujillo smashed a line drive up the middle in the first inning that rolled all the way to the wall for a two-run double and a 2-0 lead.
A six-run third inning helped put the game out of reach.
“They have been doing this all tournament,” Prall said of his team’s big inning.
Monument’s Blake Anderson delivered the final blow, driving a ball over the third baseman’s head in the bottom of the fourth, plating the run that ended the game on the 10-run rule.
“I can’t explain it. It was awesome,” Anderson said after his big hit.
Monument will open state-tourney play July 18 in Cherry Creek, to which Trujillo said, “We just want to win.”
■ In other District 1 Little League tournaments:
Major Boys: Monument blasted Durango 27-0 to win the championship in Glenwood Springs, and it not only qualified for the state tournament, it will host it at the Monument Little League fields next week.
Monument went 5-0 in the district tourney, and manager Sean Kreidler said his team piled up 138 runs and allowed only 14. Monument also hit 40 home runs, he said.
The state tourney’s starting date is to be determined. It could start July 19 or 20.
Junior Boys: Grand Mesa defeated Three Rivers 12-6 at Deerfield Park in Rifle, forcing a second game for the championship today, 9 p.m., again at Deerfield Park.
9-10 B Boys: Monument finished the tourney unbeaten, claiming the title with a 14-3 victory in four innings over Montrose. The B level, however, does not advance to a state tournament.
Marcus Labonde was the winning pitcher, allowing four hits and striking out six. Zac Coleman went 3 for 3, hit a home run and drove in four runs for Monument and Logan Woll went 3 for 4, scored three times and drove in a run.
For the tournament, Labonde and Woll each won two games on the mound, Coleman hit .867 in Monument’s four wins, and Woll batted .662 and scored 11 runs.
9-10 A Boys: Monument defeated Colorado River Valley 5-1 and is the only unbeaten team left. Colorado River Valley drops into the elimination bracket, where it faces Fruita, a 21-6 winner over Grand Mesa, today at 7 p.m. at Orchard Mesa Little League.