by Scott Boyle
The Dodgers and the Red Sox from Monticello concluded a competitive summer with respective trips to Pinto league state tournaments. The Dodgers, coached by Steve Draper, finished in third place in their sixteen team tournament, while the RT Nielson’s Red Sox finished tied for fifth in another tournament.
“Our kids showed up to play”, crowed Draper, who finished 5-1 over the three days spent in Spanish Fork.
In a new format that both coaches like, the teams play three times in pool play plus a first round bracket game if they get out of pool play in two days.
“We don’t have to stay in Utah Valley all week.” said Nielson. “We can play twice a day for two or three days and be done.”
The Dodgers, led by the “phenomenal” play of Austin Wilcox and Shane Christensen, played all three days, making it out of pool play at 3-0, and then winning that must win first bracket game.
The Dodgers pounded the ball, scoring 30 runs in the four games while only allowing eight. Draper sighted Wilcox’s catching a ball while falling to his back and then throwing a runner out from his back as indicative of the kind of play he got from his players.
“Shane Christensen’s pitching was unreal,” he added.
The Dodgers were upended in the semifinals by the Orioles, 10-1, which kept them out of the championship game. The Orioles went on to win the tournament.
The Dodgers spent just a little time recovering from the disappointing loss before triumphing in the consolation game, 5-1 over a team from Spanish Fork to grab the third place trophy.
“Our players didn’t let the big city affect them,” smiled Draper.
He also cited the hitting of Curtis Baird, who narrowly missed a home run, “by inches”, the all around play of Chandler Draper, the coach’s son, and the pitching, catching, and hitting of pick-up player Chase Richmond-“to bad he isn’t from Monticello”-who plays for the Blanding Giants, as instrumental in the Dodgers excellent run through the tournament.
In Springville, the Red Sox also romped through their pool play 3-0 to qualify for bracket play, only to run into the best pitcher in the tournament in the “win or go home” game.
The big kid from Spanish Fork didn’t let the boys from Monte string any hits together and sent them home 7-4.
“We didn’t play poorly. We were done in by a good chucker”, says Nielson.
“We got some hits off him, including Eric Anderson’s double, but he was just a horse on the mound. He was throwing curve balls for strikes and fastballs. He’s an accelerated kid,” praised Nielson.
Nielson enthusiastically praised the play of all the players on his team, including Austin Maloy, who turned a couple of critical double plays; Tanner Eardley, who narrowly missed a three run homer that would have made things interesting in the loss; Hunter Bowring’s hitting and work behind the plate; and Roque DeAnda, “the leader of our outfield”.
Nielson was also grateful for the fine play of pick-up player Rye Nielson, also of the Blanding Giants, who pitched and played other positions for the Dodgers.
With these two tournaments, thus ends a four year run through Mustang and Pinto state tournaments for the oldest players on the two teams that includes two firsts, a second, a third, and a fifth place finish. If my research is correct, these young ball players participated in 34 state tournament games during their young careers, winning 29.
Bike Chase Parked
The annual Blue Mountain Bike Chase was canceled for the first time ever this past weekend due to adverse course conditions; “too much snow covering the course and fallen trees”, according to Chase director Eddie Allred.
Ironic isn’t it, to cancel a race in July on account of snow. Almost as incongruous as cancelling the Blue Mountain Triathlon in March, which includes a cross country skiing portion, because of too much snow. Only in Monticello, I suppose.
Last week I wrote about Todd Wells, a National Cyclocross bike racer. Cyclocrossing is riding a bike while intermittently carrying the bike over various obstacles. Maybe we should have tried cyclo-crossing over the snow and trees!