by Kyle Koso
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo . -- Some top-of-the-order punch and bottom-of-the-order production is a great way to keep a baseball team in balance and harmony.
The 10u West U Wranglers benefited by runs coming from all corners Saturday at the Triple Crown World Series and rode the strong arm of Lukas Metzen to a 12-3 victory over the Parker Jets to earn a spot in Sunday's championship game. The Wranglers (TX), who lost earlier in the tournament to the Jets (CO), 10-0, will play the winner of the Jets-Orioles game at 11:15 at Howelsen Hill and need just one win in two games to prevail in the double-elim format.
Metzen allowed just five hits; Cole Coffman, No. 2 in the order, had two hits and three RBI while the bottom four batters in the order went 4-for-6 with five walks, four RBI and six runs scored.
"We were very patient at the plate against a very good pitcher. We were able to get a few key walks, and for a team like us, that's very important," said Wrangler coach Kevin Coffman. "That was a big momentum boost that carried us through the game.
"Lukas was able to throw them off with some change-of-paces, moving the ball around. Credit to Lukas - it was fantastic to get a complete game there, a real gem. This was a complete baseball game; we did every phase of the game pretty well today."
Cole Coffman drove in two runs with a first-inning single, and the Jets countered with a single by Madden Kretzer and a sacrifice fly by Hunter Day to make it 2-1. Bases-loaded walks pushed the Wranglers up 4-2 after two innings, and a clever steal of home by Gavin LeMonds kept the Jets in range, 4-2, on a play where the Wranglers were not paying close enough attention to the runner.
That was about it for lapses, however. Jett McBride came across on a double steal to make it 5-2, and the Wranglers poured across seven runs in the sixth inning. Metzen and Coffman again drove in runs, while three other runs were secured off of wild pitches.
"I was focused," Metzen said. "That's pretty much it. I wasn't nervous at all. (The bottom of the order) fired us up."
"We had good hits and some big runs," Cole Coffman said. "My first at-bat, that was my first good hit of the tournament. Lukas had some good curveballs."
Kretzer smoked a long triple for the Jets in the bottom of the sixth and scored on another sacrifice fly by Day. But the threat ended on a line-out double play.