By Ken Hamrick
ROCKY FORD — The sixth-ranked Rocky Ford High School baseball team had a rough time in its Class 2A District 6 Tournament game with Fowler Saturday at Babcock Park. The Meloneers defeated the Grizzlies by an 8-7 margin and then they played Crowley County in the championship.
Rocky had an easier time with the Chargers as it won by a score of 12-2 to win the district championship and it will advance to the Class 2A State Tournament.
"We got a couple of wins," said Rocky coach Patrick Hill. "We didn't play the best baseball, but we got the job done and we're on to our next goal."
Rocky Ford 8, Fowler 7
Fowler took the early lead by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Jackson Bates singled and he took second on Gabe Proctor's groundout. Zane Denton then singled to put Bates on third, and Denton got into scoring position by stealing second.
Both runners came home on Luke Bitter's single.
The Grizzlies scored two more runs in the third. Bates singled for the second time and he went to second on a wild pitch. Proctor struck out, but the third strike was in the dirt. Meloneer catcher Isiah Garcia elected to retire Bates at third, but Proctor reached first on the play.
Denton doubled and Bitter was hit by a pitch. Hunter Mason singled to bring home Proctor and Denton to increase the Fowler lead to 4-0.
The Meloneers tied the score in their half of the third. Santino Mendoza drew a walk with two out and Greg Garcia followed with a single. Andre Montano singled to score Mendoza, and Elias Jaramillo doubled home Greg Garcia and Montano to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Cameron Frantz's single brought home Jaramillo with the tying run.
Rocky ford took the lead in the fourth. Isiah Garcia walked and stole second. He came all the way around to score on Will Valdez's sacrifice bunt.
Fowler regained the lead by scoring three times in the top of the seventh. Quinton Flanscha led off by reaching on an error and he went to third on Bates' third single of the game. Flanscha scored as he and Bates successfully executed the double steal and the score was tied at 5-5.
Denton singled Bates to third, and Denton stole second. Bittler's single scored Bates, and Mason singled to plate Denton and give Fowler a 7-5 lead.
The Meloneers were undeterred and they scored three runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh. Mendoza led off with a single and he advanced to third on Greg Garcia's double. Jaramillo was safe on an error and both Mendoza and Garcia scored on the play to deadlock the score at 7-7.
Frantz drew a walk, and Victor Lopez singled to bring home Jaramillo with the winning run.
Mendoza went the distance for the Meloneers and he took the win. He allowed seven runs and 11 hits and he struck out seven and walked none.
Johnathan Mobbley started on the mound for the Grizzlies, but did not figure in the decision. He gave up seven runs and eight hits and he had four strikeouts and two walks. Tyson Martinez finished the game and he took the loss. He surrendered one run and two hits with no strikeouts and one walk.
Greg Garcia led the Meloneers offense as he went 4-4 including a double. Lopez went 2-2 with one RBI. Jaramillo led in RBIs with four.
Leading the Grizzlies' hitting attack were Bates, who went 3-4, Denton, who went 3-4 with a double, Bitter, who went 2-4 with three RBIs, and Mason, who went 2-4 with three RBIs.
Crowley County 7, Swink 3
The Chargers had a fast start as they scored two runs in the top of the first. Raymundo Suarez got on first on an error and Hayden Carter followed with a walk. Both advanced on Cannon Buford's groundout and both came home on Adam Schulz's triple.
The Lions tied the score in the bottom of the second. Brandon Amrhein and David McElroy both singled, and Ryan Phelps had a bunt single. An error on Phelps' hit allowed both Amrhein and McElroy to come home.
Crowley County regained the lead in the third. Suarez got on base on an error in the outfield and he went to second on Buford's sacrifice bunt. Schulz singled home Suarez to give the Chargers a 3-2 lead. Schulz took second on the throw to the infield.
Brett Geringer was hit by a pitch, and both Schulz and Geringer stole the next base. Schulz scored on a passed ball for a 4-2 edge.
The Chargers score two more runs in the fourth. Russell Huffsmith walked and Chris Meyer singled. Both advanced on Suarez's groundout and both scored on Carter's double.
The Lions scored once in their half of the fourth. Michael Romero singled and he scored in Trey Redner's triple.
Crowley County scored one more run in the sixth. Suarez was safe on an error and Carter got on base on a fielder's choice. The runners advanced on a Buford groundout and a wild pitch allowed Suarez to score.
Carter went the distance for the Chargers and he was the winning pitcher. He gave up three runs and nine hits and he struck out six, walked one and hit one batter.
Redner started for the Lions and he took the loss. He allowed seven runs and five hits and he had five strikeouts, six walks and one hit batter. Nathan Paolucci finished the game and he gave up no runs and no hits and he had two strikeouts.
Leading the Charger offense was Meyer, who went 2-4.
The Lions' offense was led by Kody Rice, who also went 2-4.
Rocky Ford 12, Crowley County 2
The first two innings were scoreless before the Meloneers broke into the scoring column with a run in the bottom of the third. Isiah Garcia singled and Valdez followed with a walk. Mendoza was safe on an error, and Isiah Garcia scored on Greg Garcia's sacrifice fly.
Rocky Ford scored four more runs in the fourth. Jaramillo led off by getting hit by a pitch. Frantz singled and Lopez walked to load the bases.
Josh Johnson was hit by a pitch to drive home Jaramillo. Isiah Garcia's walk drove home Frantz, and Lopez scored on a wild pitch.
Johnson was out at the plate on an unsuccessful squeeze play, but Valdez singled home Isiah Garcia for a 5-0 lead.
The Meloneers scored four more runs in the fifth. Jaramillo started the rally with a walk, Frantz singled and Johnson was hit by a pitch. Jaramillo and Frantz both scored on wild pitches, and after Isiah Garcia also walked, Valdez singled home Johnson. An error on the play allowed Isiah Garcia to score and Rocky had a 9-0 lead.
The Chargers avoided the shutout by scoring twice in the sixth. Suarez singled and he scored on Carter's triple. Schulz singled home Carter to cut the deficit to 9-2.
Rocky Ford scored three times in the bottom of the sixth. Greg Garcia singled and he took second on a wild pitch. Montano singled home Greg Garcia and an error put Montano on second. Montano took third on a wild pitch and he scored on another.
Jaramillo, Quinten Henson and Johnson all walked to load the bases, and Isiah Garcia also walked to drive home Jaramillo and end the game on the 10-run rule.
Montano had a complete-game win for Rocky Ford and he gave up two runs and three hits and he had nine strikeouts and no walks.
Zach Auchterlonie was Crowley County's starting pitcher and he was tagged with the loss. He allowed four runs and three hits with two strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter. Meyer relieved Auchterlonie in the fourth and he hit the only batter he faced, but the runner did not score. Brandon Dullard then took the mound and he surrendered five runs and two hits and he struck out none, walked three and hit one batter. Geringer relieved Dullard in the fifth and he allowed three runs and three hits with no strikeouts and two walks. Suarez finished the game and gave up no runs and no hits and he walked two.
The Meloneers had seven hits and they were led by Valdez, who went 2-3 with two RBIs and Frantz, who also went 2-3.
The Chargers' three hits consisted on Carter's triple and singles by Suarez and Schulz.
Rocky, Swink advance to State
Rocky Ford's record is now 17 wins and three losses and it will next play in the Class 2A State Tournament this weekend at the Runyon Sports Complex in Pueblo. Its first round opponent will be Lyons. The Meloneers enter as the fifth seed and Lions are 12th. They will play Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Andenucio Field.
Should the Meloneers win, they will play either fourth-seeded Hotchkiss or 13th-seeded Dawson at 2 p.m. on Friday.
"We're going to go back to work this week and we have to fine tune a bunch of stuff and go play some good baseball," Hill said.
Swink (12-8) also advanced to the State Tournament and it will enter as the 15th seed.The Lions will play second-seeded Sedgwick County at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Hobbs Field. Should Swink win, it will play either seventh-seeded Dayspring Christian or 10th-seeded Yuma at 2 p.m.
Crowley County finished the season at 10-11 and Fowler was 9-12.
Rocky Ford 8, Fowler 7
Fowler 202 000 3 — 7 11 2
Rocky Ford 004 100 3 — 8 10 3
Mobbley, Martinez (7, L) and Bitter. Mendoza (W) and I. Garcia.
Crowley County 7, Swink 3
Crowley County 202 201 0 — 7 5 4
Swink 021 000 0 — 3 9 4
Carter (W) and Schulz. Redner (L), Paolucci (7) and Lewis.
Rocky Ford 12, Crowley County 2
Crowley County 000 002 — 2 3 5
Rocky Ford 001 442 — 12 7 3
Auchterlonie (L), C. Meyer (4), Dullard (4), Geringer (5), Suarez (6) and Schulz. Montano (W) and I. Garcia.