This past week has been a perfect example that Colorado winters die a long, hard death. High school spring sports felt the effect as athletic directors were in scramble-mode with track meets being cancelled and baseball playoff games looking for backup-site options.
The weather cleared long enough, though, for the District 6 Tournament playoffs to be played as scheduled in Rye on Saturday.
Seeding for the Saturday tournament, however, would be determined by the May 7 game against Rocky Ford on the Fowler home diamond.
Jonathan Mobbley took to the mound in the important game and battled his way through the first three innings to a 0-0 tie. In the top of the fourth, things quickly changed, with the Meloneer batters pounding out five runs.
Fowler fired things up themselves, and in the bottom half came back with four runners crossing the plate.
Mobbley regained his form in the next three innings, shutting out Rocky Ford and bringing the Fowler bunch to the plate in the bottom of the seventh down one run at 5-4.
The pressure was easy to feel and increased after the strikeout of the first Fowler batter. Quinton Flanscha struck out but reached first base safe on a wild pitch.
Hunter Mason stepped into the batter’s box and shouldered the mounting pressure with a clutch double that scored Flanscha. Game tied 5-5.
Gabriel Proctor flew out to left field. Jackson Bates reached first base on an error by the Rocky pitcher and Mason advanced to third base. Mason, in a heads-up play, scored on a wild pitch to end the game, 6-5 Fowler.
Mobbley got the well-deserved win, getting seven strikeouts after 102 pitches.
Saturday in Rye, the Grizzlies (12-8) opened 2A District 6 Regional Tournament play in the afternoon game against Holly (15-3). A pitcher’s duel ensued with Holly’s Brigden Parker and Fowler’s Mobbley facing each other.
Holly was first to hit the scoreboard with a single run in the top of the second inning. The Holly pitcher was solid through the first five stanzas, blanking the Grizzlie batters. The Wildcat batters added two more, one each in the fourth and fifth innings. In the bottom of the sixth the Fowler nine closed the gap, scoring a run to make it 3-1.
The Holly bunch held on going into the last inning and took the win, allowing them to move on to the championship game against Rye 30 minutes later.
Jackson Bates had two hits against the Meloneers on three at bats, Quinton Flanscha added two hits of his owns and Zane Denton and Gabriel Proctor each had a hit to round out the Grizzlies' offense on the day.
Rye beat Holly in the final game of the day 7-2 to take the tournament and move on to the State playoffs.
There are seven district winners who receive an automatic berth to state, as well as the next nine highest teams on the RPI, commented Fowler coach Mark Lowther.
“We were at 15 on the RPI, so we received the 15th seed," he said. "Three teams from our league - Rye Holly and our team - were able to qualify by this format.
Fowler will play Hotchkiss (18-1) in the next round Saturday. Game time is 9:30 a.m. at Hobbs Field at the Runyon Sports Complex in Pueblo.
Fowler 6, Rocky Ford 5
Rocky Ford 000 500 0 - 5 7 3
Fowler 000 400 2 - 6 6 1
Holly 3, Fowler 1
Holly 010 110 0 -3 6 3
Fowler 000 001 0 - 1 6 3