“They played the best baseball I have ever seen them play and I’ve seen them play ‘em all!” crowed Monticello Red Sox coach RT Nielson, after his Pony league team won the state championship in Utah Valley last week.
The Red Sox won all six games to not only claim the first place trophy but to complete a perfect 24-0 season. And for many of the players, the championship was their third in their careers that started with a Mustang League championship a few years ago. “I think this one was the sweetest for most of them,” continued Nielson.
The Red Sox were led by some powerful hitting by a whole lineup of hitters. After walking through pool play undefeated, the boys of Monticello started the “Lose and go home” round against the Salem Cardinals and their experienced all-star pitcher.
Nielson threw Shane Christensen at them, who pitched “outstanding” and allowed only three runs to the high powered team.
Furthermore, Christensen started the hitting parade off with a home run in the second inning that was “way out of the park,” according to coach. Before the shell-shocked ace could recover, the Red Sox had plated five runs in the inning, on their way to an impressive 8-3 victory.
Next came the semi-finals, and with Nielson saving his ace, Austin Maloy, for a championship game, the Red Sox used a bevy of hurlers and a barrage of bats to win the game 22-16. Maloy actually got the last out of the game after their opponents put six runs on the board in the last inning, giving him 6 2/3 innings available in a championship game.
The final saw the RT’s boys matched up against everyone’s favorite, the Spanish Fork White Sox, who are “really big and really good,” understated Nielson.
But Maloy tossed “the best game he’s ever thrown,” hit a another home run “way out of the park”, kid brother McKade knocked in three runs with a bases loaded double, and coach’s kid, Easton, came in to get that last important out when Maloy’s innings were up with the most exciting strike out of his young life, as the Red Sox topped the championship off 8-2.
Nielson was effusive in his praise of his entire team, citing the contributions of each one, including those mentioned already and Dakoda Aitken’s 3 for 3, 5 RBI effort in one game, Roque DeAnda’s consistent bat in every game, Hunter Bowring’s solid catching, Jake Giles hitting and new found pitching skills, pick-up player Rye Nielson from Blanding’s stellar pitching, Eric Anderson’s big bat, Chandler Draper’s dazzling outfield play, Chance Weahkee, the super sub, Kyler LaRose’s unifying efforts, Dustin Christensen’s good bat, and Sheldon Black’s stellar infield play, whether at third, shortstop, or second base.
Next up for most of these boy’s, Buckaroo Baseball!
Much like the San Juan High softball prospects, the Buckaroo boys should field some fine baseball for a number of years.
Three other teams participated in state tournament’s, with promising results. Chris Baird’s Monticello Dodgers of the Pinto League placed fourth in their tournament. After winning the pool, the Dodgers played whom many thought was the best team in the tournament and beat them 9-2, led by the pitching of pickup pitcher, Bronz Eldredge. Drew Baird finished off the pitching chores.
In the semis, the Dodgers jumped to a quick 2-1 lead, but couldn’t hold it and succumbed 7-2. Finally, in the third and fourth place game, the Dodgers lost 11-4. “The wind was out of our sails by then,” says Baird. After traveling four and a half hours and sleeping away from home, the boys did well.
Two Monticello Mustang teams played in state tournaments, the White Sox of long time and long time to come (lots of boys) coach Steve Draper and Brad Young’s Cubs. Both teams qualified through pool play, like the White Sox winning one game 17-0. But in the elimination game, the White Sox lost to the eventual champions, who cleaned everyone’s plow winning by the 20-run rule several times, but could only kind of dust off the White Sox 11-5.
Young’s team also made it through pool play, only to lose a thrilling triple overtime game, a game the veteran umpire said was the best little league game of which he had ever been a part of.
In the overtimes, the batting team starts with a man on second, then in each inning after that, start with a man on third and you play until one outscores the other. Three innings and a bunch of historics by both teams before the Cubs succumbed.
It was probably one of the best weeks in baseball for Monticello ball players ever and some have seen them play ‘em all!