Slammers Altitude Black go to work on Championship Sunday, take away 13uD1 Vail Valley World Series title
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – Amazingly, the Slammers Altitude Black 13u team scored 16 runs in one inning during the Vail Valley World Series.
Surprisingly, pitcher Brady Wright threw a four-inning perfect game for the Slammers earlier in the event.
And memorably, the squad emerged from the loser’s bracket Sunday with three wins, beating USA Prime Mann two times at the Eagle Sports Complex to win the 13uD1 World Series.
The Slammers (Lakewood, CO) started Sunday with a 14-4 win over Saddleback Cowboys Black, then forced the “if” game with a resounding 24-13 victory over USA Prime to set the table for a winning-take-all finale. Summoning the energy and focus not many teams can manage, the Slammers got six strong innings from starter Jackson Bernosky and a timely four-run rally in the fourth to top USA Prime, 6-2, to wrap up one of the signature events on the Triple Crown Sports calendar.
Chris Valerio hit a two-run single in the fourth to push the Slammers ahead, and he added an insurance run in the fifth with a two-out single. Gavin Marsh hit a useful solo home run in the sixth for the Slammers as USA Prime (Arvada, CO) rallied in the top of the seventh, plating a run and loading the bases with two outs before reliever Landon Holmes got the final out on a ground ball to second base.
The Slammers certainly entered the final game Sunday full of belief after the outburst of runs in the game before, with 16 runs coming across in the top of the third inning. And they had to love the sight of Bernosky going to work – he scattered four hits and notched eight strikeouts.
“I’m really just thinking batter to batter, going right at them and nothing else,” said Bernosky, who was in the middle of the key sequences of the game, striking out the side in the sixth after shortstop Travis Varela came up with an unassisted double play to end the fifth. “It shows we have a lot of joy, playing hard, giving the effort. I was feeling good with a lot of energy.”
“That double play, it’s the pitcher’s best friend. We get a hard-hit ball up the middle and Travis makes a good play, takes it himself and that was a great decision,” said Slammer coach Brad Marsh. “And that lets our pitcher go out there and just throw strikes, knowing he’s got the defense behind him. Late in the game, for him to get three strikeouts like that, it just shows you the hard work they put in all year.”
Valerio likened those two innings to getting a Christmas present, something that makes you grateful, and the same could be said for his key RBI moments in a game that was significantly closer than 24-13.
“It felt great to deliver those hits. Being in the 3-hole, they trust me to do my job and get people in,” Valerio said. “My approach is to see what he’s throwing, how he’s throwing, and if I see it again most likely I’ll try to go after that again. We came into this to kick some major butt and wouldn’t take no for an answer, no losing.”
“He’s our 3-hitter and a special human being,” coach Marsh said. “He’s never let adversity get in his way. He’s had some challenges with his health, and to come out here with those quality at-bats in tough times, whatever we ask, he did it.”
Friday, Wright guided the Slammers to a win with four perfect innings, 30 pitches and 25 strikes. In the 24-run outburst Sunday, Ben O’Connor had four hits and four RBI, and Gavin Marsh and Dalton Marsh each had three RBI. In that game for USA Prime, Jeremiah Lucero hit two three-run homers and was pitched to especially carefully in the final, walking three times and getting hit by a pitch.
10uD1 – The Colorado Prospects did the same thing Sunday, winning three times to come out of the loser’s bracket to claim the title. The Prospects (Parker, CO) first topped the OKC Niners, 11-9, then beat Crush Baseball-Gruner 11-10 to force the “if” game. In the finale, the Prospects prevailed, 13-7.
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – The USA Prime Mann squad spent most of Saturday trailing in its 13uD1 Vail Valley World Series game. But sailing into the championship game proved a more accurate description of their day.
At the Eagle Sports Complex against the Saddleback Cowboys Black, USA Prime scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to finally draw even before plating three more in the eighth inning, earning a 12-11 victory and a spot in Sunday’s tile game mix. In the double elimination format, USA Prime needs just one win in two chances to take home the trophy.
The sixth inning burst of production was really a slow trickle as USA Mann waited it out with four walks and a hit batter to prime the offense. A Kolt Smith single drew the team back to just one run down at 9-8, and Max Jones’ bases-loaded walk tied it at 9-all.
Saddleback (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) started extra innings with two singles – Colton Mossman drove in the runner who started on second via the tiebreaker rule, and Lance Stoll scored on an infield error.
USA Prime got a lift as pitcher Jack Sansone struck out the last two batters, and Smith started the bottom of the eighth with a loud double to the fence.
“I was just hoping to hit the ball, honestly; I haven’t been doing the best this weekend,” Smith said. “Make some contact, get that runner home for the team. Even though we were down, we were trying to get back up, stay hyped, not get down on ourselves because that just kills you.”
Jones tied the game at 11-11 with a single that brought in Smith, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. With one out, Jude Bachicha lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Nicholas Penfold with the winning run.
“I was feeling pretty confident. I was looking for my pitch at 2-2 and knew they had to come with a fastball to me,” Bachicha said. “I was right there. We play our best baseball, we will make it far.”
“That’s the way it’s been this whole year. We always seem to fall behind, and the guys just battle,” said coach Devin Reidle. “They’ve stayed in it. I have certain kids I depend on, and they came through in the end here, and really the entire game. When we needed hits, we got them.”
Brody Reidle and Isiah Sandoval homered in the third inning for USA Prime. Noah Darnell had a home run and two RBI for Saddleback.
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – An error in youth baseball can open the door for big trouble, so the Crush Baseball-Gruner squad had reason to be wary at the start of Saturday’s game in the Triple Crown 10uD1 World Series in Vail Valley.
An infield miscue allowed the leadoff hitter for the Colorado Prospects to reach first base, but starting pitcher Dale Baptista promptly picked off the runner to reset the mood at the Gypsum Sports Complex. That was about it for drama as the Crush went on to post a 13-3 run-rule victory to advance to Sunday’s title game, and with the double-elimination format the Crush have two chances to call up a championship effort.
Baptista allowed one run in his three innings of work, stranding a runner at third in his final two frames and looking not once bothered by any pressure in the moment.
“I was just trying to keep the hitters off balance, get outs and throw strikes,” said Baptista, who also had an RBI double and a run in the second inning. “After the error I was a little mad, but when I picked him off, I was a lot happier. It feels good to pick off somebody.”
“We tell the guys all the time, just get the out somewhere, and try to pick each other up,” said coach Dan Gruner. “Somebody makes an error, someone else can pick him up, and they’ve been doing that well.”
In the bottom of the first, the Crush jumped ahead, 2-0, on a home run from Lincoln Cauthron, and then the offense authored the big low with seven runs in the second. Cauthron had an RBI double in the mix, with other hits coming from Fernando Banda, Noah Vazquez, Aiden Ceo, Tyler Friberg, Eli Armenta and Baptista.
Fueled by four walks, the Crush added four runs in the third, with Cauthron getting one more RBI on a sacrifice fly.
“I’ve been early on a lot of (pitches), but I’ve been working on trying to sit back and in this tournament I’ve done that well,” he said. “(Baptista) did a good job; we really needed that today. In our warmups, we are not goofing off. We are trying to stay focused with the right mentality.
“We’ve had our fair share of rough patches, but right now the boys are very dialed in,” Gruner said. “They’ve been working hard, with a good mental approach on both sides of the ball, and that’s really helping. They are becoming smart baseball players.”
The title game is set for 10 a.m. tomorrow, with the if-necessary game coming immediately afterward.
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – Losing track of the little things put the 13uD2 Next Level Baseball Club squad in a bit of trouble Sunday, threatening to sideswipe their plans to outright win the Triple Crown Vail Valley World Series as the Wichita Wolfpack looked to force a winner-take-all second game in the double-elimination bracket.
Some quality at-bats and determined defense got NLBC back in the groove at the Eagle Sports Complex, in just enough time to post an 8-7 victory and send the team back home to Corona, Calif., in a sky-high mood after their week in the Rocky Mountains.
With Evan Padilla capping a four-run fifth inning with a two-out single, NLBC responded to a 7-4 deficit with a parade of smart plate appearances in the frame, including three walks. Raymond Mejia sealed it with two innings of scoreless relief, with shortstop Gavin Carpenter sprinting into left field for a difficult catch to end the contest.
NLBC’s first-inning mistakes in this close one – letting a wild throw from the outfield bounce away to allow the Wolfpack’s first run, and a baserunner not tagging up on a scoring chance – would not prove to be the final word after all.
“It took a while for some of them to learn how to play the game, maybe just thinking about themselves. This tournament, they all played together,” said NLBC coach Francisco Rodriguez. “It was about slowing things down; they can get excited depending on the situation. Before the game started, you could feel the butterflies – you want to be sure everyone is ready to go and full of energy. After that first inning, you could just relax and play the game.”
NLBC took a 3-1 lead after the first inning, but the Wolfpack ignored the trend and kept fighting. Consecutive hits from Brody Clasen and Grady Myers pushed Wichita ahead, 5-4, in the fourth, and a two-out two-run homer from Hays Ensley extended the lead to 7-4.
Ben Rausch led off the fifth with a walk for NLBC; Carpenter, Joshua Leon and Danny De La Torre followed up with hits, and after a pitching change walks to Mejia and MJ Hernandez loaded the bases. Padilla, who came in as a pinch hitter in the fourth, then punched in with the go-ahead RBI single.
“I was kind of nervous at first, but we started hitting, and that’s when we started feeling better,” said Leon, who had four RBI on the day from the cleanup spot. “I try to not think about hitting home runs, just get on base or get the runners home.”
With runners on first and second in the top of the sixth, Mejia got a fielder’s choice grounder for the first out, putting runners on first and third. A tapper to the mound led to the second out; NLBC used an intentional walk to load the bases, and then Rausch made a dashing, diving catch in center field for the third out. Rausch made another remarkable catch for the second out in the seventh that capped a busy day – three runs scored and four innings pitched after he came to the mound to start the second inning.
“I was afraid those balls were going to drop in center, so I was running as fast as I could,” Rausch said. “I had a rush as soon as the ball was hit to me, especially because it was so crucial. It was a little tough pitching today, especially with the rain, and I was trying to keep the ball try, change the grip I had, but I was able to get the job done.”
11uD1 – The Utah Lumberkings (Spanish Fork, UT) came out of the loser’s bracket Sunday to win twice against the Houston Brewers, first an 8-3 win to force a final game and then a 10-2 victory to secure the title.
14u – Slammers Reign (Parker, CO) got past fellow club members Slammers Black in Sunday’s title game, 13-5.
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – From time to time, teams from the same club organization will face off in a tournament setting, which typically cools some of the emotions that can bubble when brackets start heating up.
But you don’t want to be too chill – that much was understood between Slammers Reign and Slammers Black on Saturday during the 14u Triple Crown World Series. With some solid early play and a quick response when the score got tight, the Reign closed out a 11-5 victory at Eagle Valley High School to earn a spot in Sunday’s championship game in the double-elimination format.
The Black will face the CC Bruins early Sunday, and the winner will take on the Reign, who just need one win over two games to claim the title.
Saturday, the Reign stitched together a 3-0 lead after two innings with extra-base hits from Luke Gaca Thiele and Liam Whalen moving things forward. In the top of the fourth, the Black responded with two runs on a double from Max Olson.
Offensively, the Reign countered with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Gaca Thiele and Whalen had hits again, as did Jude Schechter, Jake Fladabo and Damien Alvarez. Most significantly, Reign starter Heston Edens finished it off with calm, resolute work without ever seeming too troubled by baserunners of other stress points in the matchup between Denver metro area stablemates.
“I’ve worked on all that in bullpens and my workouts, on all these stressful situations. I get in them a lot, so I just try to keep my cool,” Edens said. “Keep my breathing down, keep my heart rate down and try my best to throw strikes. Try to force contact in those stressful situations.
“The (defense) was a big help. It’s good to have some of the better players in the state behind you. Just keep giving them ground balls and fly balls. It’s a great feeling to be out here, working hard, and hopefully get the championship.”
The Reign pulled ahead 10-2 after the fifth inning and only let their guard down a bit in the sixth with a couple defensive misplays. Edens drove in the final run in the bottom of the sixth, when the time limit for the game expired.
Schechter had three hits from the end of the batting order, with Fladabo registering three hits from the leadoff spot.
“I want to go (opposite field) and try to; if I get an inside pitch I’ll pull it. Mostly, keep the hands to the ground and try to hit the ball hard,” Schechter said. “Heston pitched really well, got a lot of strikes, got a lot of groundouts.”
“We played deeper in the outfield today. The ball was really carrying, and they have some good hitters with some power,” said Reign coach Frank Krembles. “We had a great mentality. There were some plays we should have probably made, but none of that bothered Heston at all.”
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – Patience in baseball competition is a learned skill, no different than one’s approach at the plate or out in the field.
Finding the right balance between determined effort and staying relaxed defined Saturday for the Houston Brewers at the 11uD1 Triple Crown World Series, as two big offensive pushes and a quality outing from starter Jesus Guerra guided the squad to a 9-1 five-inning run-rule victory over the Saddleback Cowboys at the Gypsum Sports Complex.
Houston has reached the title game in the double-elimination bracket and will play at 8 a.m. Sunday, earning the crown with a victory and getting a second chance at the title, should they lose early, at 10 a.m.
Guerra allowed two hits and four walks to go with seven strikeouts; his only wobbly moments came in the first inning where Saddleback (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) pushed across a run to take a 1-0 lead. Once the work to come was understood, Guerra found his touch and never let the opposition get another foothold.
“I was disappointed about the first inning; when I got back to the dugout my teammates and coaches helped me get up and have confidence,” Guerra said. “I did the best I could then, throwing strikes. And all the offense was a big help.”
“He’s been pitching two and a half years and has good stuff; he just needed one inning to settle in and after that he was lights out,” said Brewers coach Ray Ramirez.
The offense made a lot of progress just by waiting out for good results. The Brewers scored five runs in the second inning, with five walks and a hit batter causing most of the disruption. Four more runs came across in the fourth; another walk and HBP played a part in that outburst.
“We usually take pitches, especially if we see a guy struggling out there. And we’re not afraid to wear a pitch – that’s a great way to get on base, and the big guys come up and clear them out,” Ramirez said.
One of the big guys, Earon Ramirez, took a deep breath and calmly accepted walks in his first two at-bats, but he was ready to jump on a fastball in the fourth and smoked a three-run double to break the game open.
“It was tough (waiting), because I was ready to hit. I’ve been hitting well all tournament,” Earon Ramirez said. “When I got in there in the fourth, he went first-pitch curve ball and then threw another one. He was down in the count, and I knew he would go fastball.”
The Brewers are finding bonus determination, regardless of the heat or close games earlier in the bracket, after finishing second at this event last year. Everyone in uniform is dialed in on the thought of bringing home the trophy.
“We’ve fought hard, played our game, and now we’re in the championship,” Earon Ramirez said.
“Last year left a bad taste in our mouths. We played a good team from Tennessee, but that drove us in the fall and the spring,” coach Ramirez added. “Up to two months ago, we’re talking about being able to win this thing, and that we have the stuff to do it.”
Adam Morales reached base three times and had a run and RBI for the Brewers. Gio Martinez and Jaime Meza scored twice each. Jake Dak singled and scored for the Saddlebacks in the first; Johnny Shin drove him in with a single and also walked in the fourth.
By Kyle Koso
GYPSUM, Colo. – Rodrick Brown didn’t exactly love how his at-bats were playing out Friday at the Triple Crown World Series, although he liked the odds of things turning around in his favor.
Brown, leadoff hitter for the Offseason Baseball-Garcia squad out of Houston, fought off the doubts in a huge spot in extra innings against the Wood Ducks (Wichita, KS), drilling a two-run single in the top of the seventh to give Offseason the lead in a 13uD2 bracket game at the Eagle Sports Complex. That opened to door for more runs, and Offseason pocketed a 14-10 victory to move to the semifinals in the upper half of the championship chase.
Offseason, the No. 14 seed of the 16 teams in the bracket, will play at 10:15 a.m. Saturday against No. 2 Wichita Wolfpack in this double-elimination format.
Brown was 0-for-3 with a walk as the seventh inning started; the game sat at an 8-8 tie after six innings and had reached the time limit, so a runner was placed on second base in the international tiebreaker. That runner, Forrest Fowler, came around to score on a balk, and with one out and the bases loaded, Brown took his place in the batter’s box.
“I was basically thinking, go middle/away, and if he came inside, just try to go with it. I ended up executing it and getting the RBIs that I needed,” Brown said. “It was a bit of both (emotions), as I was pretty anxious but also very focused.”
“You’re still teaching a lot at this age, and as they get older, you know you need to be ready for that last at-bat,” said Offseason coach Asa Garcia. “It doesn’t matter what happened before. Rodrick let a pitch go, and you could tell he was still thinking about (earlier). But in the seventh, it was a new moment.”
Nathan Kalmin added a two-run single in the seventh, and Offseason ended up taking a 14-8 lead. Kalmin was 5-for-5 on the day with a key two-run home run in the sixth that he launched with the wind and over the defense in left field, a sequence that put Offseason ahead, 8-7.
“At the plate, I was looking for first-pitch strikes. I didn’t get many, but I was dialed in on it. The fastball I hit in the top of the sixth, I was just ready, he was going to come in with a fastball on a 1-0 count,” Kalmin said. “That was a new pitcher, threw a bit harder than the other guy, and I went up with the approach to get the win. We had some momentum after (winning earlier Friday), fixed what we did wrong in pool play and came out ready. No one would be stopping us.”
In the sixth and seventh, Brown also was asked to muscle up in relief, and with two strikeouts to end the sixth and one more to close the game, he seemed comfortable under those stress points as well.
“I was thinking about getting outs, and it didn’t matter much if they scored because we had a big lead,” Brown said. “As long as the defense executed, I was fine. We should have been a higher (seed), but we didn’t play that well in two of the games. We know we can beat any team we play.”
Jack Detoto had important RBI hits in the sixth and seventh for Offseason; Fowler had two hits, including a three-run homer in the third that sent his team up 3-1.
The Wood Ducks took a 6-3 lead after four innings – Jace Gouge reached base four times and drove in two runs, and Kruz Sheppard had two hits and two RBI.
DOGS MUST BE KEPT ON LEASH Sec. 7-124.
Dogs; running at large prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any owner, possessor or person who keeps a dog to permit the same to run at large within the Town. A dog shall be deemed to be running at large when it is off or away from the premise of the owner, possessor or keeper thereof or on any property accessible by the public and is not under the direct control of such owner, possessor or keeper by a leash no longer than ten (10) feet in length, or within a vehicle or other confinement.
DOG BITES MUST BE REPORTED IMMEDIATELY. OWNER SHOULD STAY ON SCENE OR LEAVE THEIR INFORMATION Sec. 7-91.
Animal bites. (a) Reporting. Any person having knowledge of an animal who bites a person or other animal shall immediately report the incident to the Police Department or the Animal Control Officer. (b) Quarantine of animals. Any animal which has bitten a person shall be quarantined and observed for a period of ten (10) days from the date of the bite, at the expense of the owner. The procedure and place of quarantine and observation shall be designated by the Animal Control Officer. The owner of any animal that has been reported as having inflicted a bite on any person shall, on demand, produce the animal for quarantine. Refusal to produce the animal for quarantine constitutes a violation of this Section, and each day of such refusal shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
DOGS SHOULD NOT BE TIED AND LEFT UNATTENDED IN PUBLIC PLACES Sec. 7-88.
Unattended animals. No owner shall tether an animal in a public place and then leave the same unattended.
DOGS SHOULD NOT BE LEFT IN VEHICLES WITHOUT ADEQUATE VENTILATION AND WATER Sec. 7-85.
Cruelty to animals prohibited. (c) No owner or person shall confine any animal within a parked vehicle without adequate ventilation or water. The Animal Control Officer may remove the animal from the vehicle if the Animal Control Officer reasonably determines that probable cause exists that the animal is subject to a hazard to its health.
FORT COLLINS, CO – While YouTube and social media standout Domingo Ayala continues his quest for a deserving spot in the big leagues, Triple Crown Baseball is refusing to wait around with the announcement that the all-category All-Star will appear at four TCS events in the summer of 2022.
The 2022 Domingo Ayala Tour will include stops at the Omaha SlumpBuster festival nights of June 16 and June 24, along with appearances at the TC World Series in Colorado’s Vail Valley on July 19 and July 26.
Ayala, who is said to have burst on the baseball scene in his native Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic at age 2, commands respect for his game today as (approximately) a 17-year-old phenom of the highest degree, with shocking pitching and batting stats to go with these other impressive numbers:
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“A home run is only as good as you make it look. That’s why you gotta pop the chain ERRYTINE,” Ayala said.
Ayala has performed in a variety of baseball settings over the years, from MLB clubhouses to youth fundraisers to corporate events. This will be the sixth year Domingo has displayed his wit and wondrous skillset at Triple Crown tournaments.
“Even though Domingo has a Hall-of-Fame resume, he’s always been happy to offer his insight and help players become great, although certainly not as great as he is,” said Brandon Hardy, SlumpBuster event director. “We’ll have him do the countdown for our Burning of the Bats fireworks show and stick around to visit with his adoring fans.”
About Triple Crown Sports
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing college and youth events for 40 years, with more than 90 events scheduled for 2022 in the arenas of youth baseball, fastpitch, basketball, lacrosse and volleyball. The TCS footprint includes both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and the men’s and women’s Cancun Challenge tournaments in November. Triple Crown is also powering “WNIT” concept events in D-I softball (NISC) and volleyball (NIVC), with those two events debuting in 2017. TCS youth fastpitch tournaments (including the 900-team Sparkler/Fireworks event) draw the nation’s finest club programs, and hundreds of college coaches attend TCS events for recruiting purposes.