By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, CO – Sometimes, the ripple effects of a big victory keep washing over teams that know what to do with good fortune.
The Rangers Baseball club (Overland Park, KS) took down the No. 2 seed on Friday at the Triple Crown 13u World Series by a resounding 21-0 margin – not only did that boost everyone’s confidence, it meant pitcher James Forgy could save up his innings for later.
Called upon to take the mound Saturday, Forgy reeled off six terrific innings for the win as the Rangers (seeded 18th) stormed past No. 6 Legacy 42 (Pasadena, CA) by an 11-4 margin to advance to Sunday’s championship finale, needing two wins in the double-elim format to walk away with the title.
“You’ve just got to stay calm and throw strikes, and believe the defense will make some plays,” said Forgy, who rang up seven strikeouts and never let Legacy post more than one run in any inning. “We were about to save some pitching when we got the big lead Friday, and that allowed me to get in for this one.”
“He was outstanding. We really didn’t help him defensively at all, made three or four errors behind him, and he didn’t let it bother him,” said Rangers coach Chris Stewart. “He battled, worked out of some bases-loaded jams, and that was the difference. That game could have been 6-1 instead of 3-1 when we made the comeback.”
That comeback was fueled by two-out hits in the fifth inning, one a misplayed double that went for three runs, and another hit a floater down the right-field line to plate one more. But if the Rangers got fortunate there, they sealed the deal with great at-bats and solid hits in the final two innings, scoring six runs in those frames to take a solid lead.
“We weren’t swinging the bats well at the start of the game, and we had been swinging exceptionally well the last three or four games,” Stewart said. “We came out tight. We did get some balls to finally drop in, and they relaxed a bit.”
“We came out ready to play (in that Friday game), and we knew we were going to beat them,” said Luke Hanahan, who doubled and tripled, driving in four runs. “James did real well today, pumping gas, did an outstanding job when we needed it.”
Hunter Higgins drove in two important insurance runs in the sixth for the Rangers; Miles Buhrle and Zach Noonan also drove in two runs apiece.
For Legacy, Bobby Milton had two hits, two stolen bases and a run. Ethan Pride had two hits and a walk, scoring once and driving in a run. Legacy will try to fight through the loser’s half of the championship bracket.
by Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, CO – For two-plus decades, teams from Texas have journeyed to Colorado for the Triple Crown World Series, hunting for great competition and cooler weather.
But there was nothing chill about the Lone Star tone filtering through Friday’s game at the Eagles Sports Complex between the Dallas Tigers-Miller (Rockwall, TX) and Pride Baseball (College Station, TX), especially with the score tied at 7-all at the 13u World Series in Vail Valley. The Tigers squad ended up getting slam-dunk relief pitching and a cluster of great at-bats in the final innings to pull away to a 13-7 victory.
Seeded 10th out of 24 teams, the Tigers will now play Saturday morning against the No. 18 Rangers in the winner’s double-elim championship bracket.
A 17-2 win got the day started right for the Tigers, and they had a 6-2 lead entering the bottom of the third against Pride, which put up one quick run and came all the way back to tie it with a four-run fifth. Staying positive and focused despite losing their lead was the key for the Tigers.
“I always tell them, get ready to be punched in the mouth. It’s never too big of a lead, especially against a good-hitting team,” said Tigers coach Matt Miller. “You expect the unexpected. Out motto is relentless’ they lived by that, and it showed today.”
Braxton Gordon hit a three-run homer in the third for the Tigers, who regained the lead in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Mick Randle and a run by Hezekiah Rodriguez, who scored on an error. They backed it up with four more in the top of the seventh; Rodriguez hit a two-out two-run double for the biggest blow, with Randle and Jordan Tamez also driving in runs to pad the lead.
“I was just going up thinking about my last at-bat, middle away, and I saw my pitch and took it,” Gordon said about his home run. “We never gave up, kept fighting, and there was no way we were going to lose. If we keep up the work, we should be top 5 easy.”
“We struggled about midway through the year with situational hitting, and the last month and a half all we’ve been talking about is, in these big events, when we get guys on we have to cash in. They do all the work,” Miller added.
Also playing a huge role in the Tigers’ win was relief pitcher Colton Laughtrey, who went 2 1/3 innings allowing two hits and notching three strikeouts. He got a break on a terrific stretching catch by Rolando Cantu on a low throw to first base to end the sixth, and Laughtrey closed the game by fielding his position nicely on a tapper to the mound.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and not give up any free bases,” he said. “Had to keep it down in the zone; if you go up, they are going to hit it. We never got down; if a bad play happens, keep your head up and keep going. This feels good, being the underdog and coming out on top in a close game.”
“Colton has been a dog since age 8 or 9; I’ve coached him for a long time, and he’s been in these moments,” Miler said. “He’s mature in these moments. He’s got my trust and the team’s trust, and I think that’s why he’s able to do what he does.”
Three players had two RBI for Pride – Colton McDaniel (also with two doubles), Jack Weibe (a clutch two-out single in the fifth) and Cutter Warren (two hits).
10u ROUNDUP – Three of the top four seeds advanced through the championship bracket on Friday in the 10u division of the TC World Series in Vail Valley.
Top-seeded Saddleback Vigilantes-Black got through safely and will face No. 5 Dallas Tigers-Ochoa on Saturday morning, with No. 2 Elite Baseball-Vais and No. 3 Saddleback Vigilantes Cardinal also looking to advance in the double-elim format.
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, CO – When it’s not a nauseating relentless stress-fest, baseball can sure be a lot of fun.
The last hour of Friday’s Triple Crown 13u World Series game between the New Mexico Blast Select and the Spiders Elite had nerves clanging like two drum sets dumped down a metal stairwell, with the Spiders escaping by the slimmest fashion with a 5-4 victory to advance in the 24-team double-elim championship bracket. The Spiders (Parker, CO), seeded 20th after pool play, will take on No. 12 Bombers Baseball Club on Saturday morning, looking to continue their charge to the title.
A 22-9 victory early Friday certainly lifted the Spiders’ spirits, as did jumping out to a 4-0 lead over the No. 4 Blast (Albuquerque, NM). But the bats went dry, and it was left to defense, pitching, and some last-second good fortune to send the team to victory – the game ended when a Blast baserunner lost track of the outs, and a flyball to centerfield was turned into a double play.
“Those 22 runs were amazing; the kids are capable of it, but they are kids so you never know when it’s going to happen. We knew we were facing one of the best teams here (in the Blast),” said Spiders coach Jon Loomer. “And we knew it would be hard to keep scoring and that they’d keep fighting. It was an awesome game to be part of.”
Grady Jacobs hit a two-strike, two-out three-run homer in the first; Aaron Crown bashed a solo home run in the third, and the Spiders had what looked to be a nice lead. Loomer thought Jacobs’ home run was the key moment in the game, where Jacobs had taken a very aggressive swing for strike two before getting it just right on the next offering.
“Running the bases, I was so pumped up, and everyone in the dugout after it was the same way,” Jacobs said. “We kept the momentum going the rest of the way. This was really fun, but nervous. It was scary trying to hold them.”
The Blast crawled back in the fight with two runs in the fourth off Spiders starter Jacob Osborne. Everett Burdett hit a solo homer, and Jeremiah Bustillos walked and scored on an error, and Spiders reliever Parker Klenovich took over in the fifth. He gave up two runs, with Sebastian Chavez doubling and scoring, and Noah Cardenas reaching on a single and coming across on a bases-loaded walk by Aaron Sanchez.
Klenovich got out of a bases-loaded jam in that inning with a popout. The sixth was relatively quiet, but in the seventh the leadoff batter reached for the Blast. A strikeout and that unexpected double play finally allowed the Spiders to breathe.
“I’m just trying to help out my team. I just have to tune everything out and play my heart out,” Klenovich said. “Our dugout was screaming the whole game, trying to rattle their pitcher. It’s hard to tell if (we were overlooked), hard to know what’s in other people’s minds, but they might have been overlooking us a bit.”
As one might expect, there was full-on appreciation for the pitching work done by Osborne and Klenovich, who had to keep punching the clock when the Spiders bats went quiet (three hits, a walk and a reach-by-error in the last five innings.
“I was glad for our pitchers – that was a god-hitting team,” Jacobs said.
“It makes me emotional, how they play. The thing is, they have lost and failed in situations like that before,” Loomer added. “You can’t succeed unless you experience situations like that many times. You build the emotional calluses to get through that … the other team is screaming, and you know how good they are. To keep standing up there and pumping in strikes, making plays in the field when the spotlight is on … I’m just proud of them.”
There were other early upsets in bracket play, as the top-seeded Colorado Twins were beaten by the Texas Bombers, 13-6, and the No. 2 Texas Bombers Sabatella squad was bounced by the Rangers.
By Kyle Koso
EDWARDS, CO. – The nickname falls right off the tongue: Moyer the Destroyer.
Kody Moyer stayed back and swung with great purpose Thursday for the Elevate Rijo-Sanders quad, pumping out three home runs to go with a double and driving in a remarkable 10 runs as the Elevate team rolled to a 23-2 victory over the Aspen Colts at the Triple Crown 13u World Series. It was a track meet for Elevate at Freedom Park in Vail Valley, a new locale for the event as they scored five runs in each of the first three innings before plating eight more (all with two outs) in the fourth inning.
With the win, Elevate (Seattle, WA) earned the No. 3 seed out of 24 teams in the championship bracket; action begins Friday, and Elevate will play again at Freedom Park at 10 a.m.
“I guess once in Little League I went 4-for-4 with four home runs … this was pretty good,” Moyer said. “You want to go for the right pitch , down the middle or maybe inside a bit, but stay on the ball and hit it … it will go far. We have to be confident in ourselves, make the right plays, and we will be good.”
The season started a bit shakily for Elevate, which is basically a new team from last year with six new players. A few were unable to make the trip to Colorado, so it’s a trim, slim roster of 10 players looking to get the job done.
“We’ve been able to come in and get three solid wins,” said Tim Thomas, who homered, doubled and singled, scoring three times and driving in two runs. “At leadoff, I like to take a pitch or two. It gives everyone else a way to time it up, and after that I’m looking for a strike or something I can get on base with and get things started.”
Carter Smith had three hits, two runs and two RBI; Brody Hallen added three hits and two RBI, Sam Lunder scored three times and Ty Duncan scored three times and drove in two. Jack Rankin also scored four runs, and Aiden Jones pitched through a lower body injury for two innings, striking out four.
“The pitchers are doing their job, doing what they are supposed to, and the hitters are taking care of business,” said Elevate coach Chris Jones. “We’re happy with where we are at right now. It’s a brand new team; we talked about leadership, integrity, working together and playing for each other. They bought in, and we’ve got 40-plus wins. We’re excited about the future for them
“We’ve talked about plate discipline all year, hitting their pitch. We talked about what pitch can you hit the hardest, which one do you see well? Kody hasn’t even touched his potential, and I’m happy for him because he was disciplined and played within himself.”
For the Colts (Aspen, CO), Dylan Mika hit a home run in the third inning and also singled and stole a base.
10u ROUNDUP – Four teams earned first-round byes in the 10u division, which also begins championship bracket play on Friday. The top seed went to Saddleback Vigilantes-Black, with Elite Baseball-Vais next at No. 2. The No. 3 seed is Saddleback Vigilantes-Cardinal, and No. 4 is Clutch Baseball.
By Kyle Koso
After stumbling out of the starting gate Wednesday, the 13u Colorado Jaxx appear to be waltzing nicely toward the solutions needed to thrive at the Triple Crown World Series.
The Jaxx (Parker, CO) wrapped up pool play Thursday with a resounding 18-9 victory over the Storm-Lightning squad (Katy, TX) as the 13u World Series took root in new surroundings at Freedom Park in Edwards, CO. Coupled with a 20-0 victory in pool play against the Aspen Colts, the Jaxx have the bats percolating after starting the tournament with a 7-5 loss to Elevate Rijo-Sanders.
Heading into championship bracket play Friday, the Jaxx earned the No. 8 seed overall out of 24 teams and will play at 2:30 p.m. at the Eagle Sports Complex
“We just had a bad approach the first game, facing good pitching. We had 10 strikeouts, but we learned we need to chip away, chip away and get base hits,” said Tommy Humphrey, who had a home run, double and three RBI. “We made the adjustment. The goal is always making a run at the title … this is also the last tournament, and we’re trying to have fun. This is a fun place to play, the views are good, and we are looking to win it.”
Against the Storm, the Jaxx fell behind 2-0 after the top of the first before bursting ahead with 18 straight runs. Carson Monroe drilled a three-run homer in the third to make it 13-2; Jax Bush also had a couple of productive swings with a two-run single in the first and a two-run double in the third.
“We had two weeks off since the state championships, and I feel that first game we lost was a rusty game. We came back, and the bats are hot now,” said Monroe, who had three hits, three runs and four RBI from the leadoff spot. “I love leadoff because I get to see the pitches for my team, get to see how off-speed looks or how quick it’s coming. I like getting on base.”
Cole Cates did a solid job on the mound to start the game, and he added one hit, two runs and an RBI. Brady Rasmussen reached three times as well, and Logan Reber had two hits and two runs.
“We want our guys to put the ball in play. We teach them to hunt fastballs,” said Jaxx coach Trip Humphrey. “Swing early and swing often on fastballs. We used more pitching today than we wanted to, but we should be OK on arms going into the brackets. We want to win this bad and will do whatever it takes, This is the last tournament for the boys; they worked their butts off all year, and I’d like to see them win it.”
For the Storm, Azim Haydon doubled and scored in the first before adding a grand slam in the fourth inning. Dario Becerra had two hits and three RBI, Yanni Ibikunle contributed three runs, four stolen bases and an RBI, and Dabian Rincones added two hits.
For more than 25 years, the Triple Crown Baseball World Series has welcomed teams to an ideal high-altitude, high energy tournament setting, and after the interruptions of 2020 the event is back on the radar, with action beginning this week in both Colorado Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley in the Colorado Rockies.
In Colorado Springs, 11u, 14u and 13u Division 2 teams will square off July 20-25; on the same dates in the RFV you’ll see ages 9D2, 11D2, 12D2 and 14D2 in action. Another trusted setting for the World Series is Park City, UT., and 9u, 12u and 12 Elite teams will go this week as well.
The circuit closes July 27-Aug. 1 with the 10u and 13uD1 event in the Vail Valley.
The mountain-town settings of each location make it a perfect retreat for families looking for a break from the hot weather elsewhere, but there’s plenty of competition and determination in the air with a five-game guarantee and a double-elimination championship bracket.
“The destinations and facilities are perfect for a highly competitive end of the year national baseball tournament. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said TC event director Matt Pilcher. “We’ve had a generation’s worth of teams make this mountain trek with Triple Crown – they are pumped to be back after missing out in 2020, and we are thrilled to welcome them back.”
There are 48 12u teams and six 9u teams from 10 states set to roll in the one-time Olympic locale of Park City. Colorado Springs will have 18 teams at 11u, 14 from 13uD2 and 16 teams at 14u from 10 states. In the Snowmass, Glenwood Springs, Basalt, Carbondale and Aspen event, 30 teams will take their swings.
“Last but not least, the gorgeous Vail Valley, Colorado will be the launch pad for the 10u and 13u D1 World Series,” said TC event director Roland Rivera. “Sixteen 10s and 32 13s from 13 different states will battle on all-turf fields at 8,150 feet to crown the World Series champions.”
“Snowmass Village is very excited to welcome the Triple Crown Baseball World Series to the Roaring Fork Valley,” said Margot Ellis, national sales manager with Snowmass Tourism. “With the collaboration of Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs this will be our first baseball valley-wide sporting event. Big thanks to Basalt’s Crown Mountain Park for being the tournament’s home base. We look forward to showcasing the beauty of our mountains while the kids get to enjoy the sport they love.”