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Rocky Ford nips La Junta in extra innings

Ken Hamrick
719-384-1425
Rocky Ford High School's Baylie Krueger (9) steals second base before La Junta's Alizeh Frazier can apply the tag. The Lady Meloneers defeated the Lady Tigers 9-8 in 11 innings.

It was a battle of Top 10 teams on Thursday as the third-ranked Rocky Ford High School softball team hosted eighth-ranked La Junta at Babcock Park.

The game lived up to the hype as it had to be decided in extra innings. The Lady Meloneers came out on top by a score of 9-8 in 11 innings.

It was a non-league game.

"We were up 6-1 and we didn't put the nail in the coffin," said LJ coach Roger Davis. "The little things hurt us. But the girls got some big hits and they didn't give up."

"We were sloppy in the beginning," said Rocky coach J.C. Carrica. "I counted nine mental mistakes. But later in the game we matched them run for run. La Junta came in to compete and I was impressed that both pitchers were able to go 11 innings and not get tired."

The Lady Tigers took the early lead by scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Lexi Nunez-Rebel drew a walk and stole second base. She came around to score on Jaden Smith's single.

The Lady Meloneers tied the score in their half of the first. Baylie Krueger singled and stole both second and third. After Abby McElroy received a base on balls, Jayden Osborne was safe on an error and Krueger scored on the play.

The second inning was scoreless, but La Junta regained the lead with a five-run third. Alexis Triana led off with a walk and Alizeh Frazier singled to give the Lady Tigers runners at the corners. Azalea Gamez bunt-singled home Triana to give La Junta a 2-1 lead.

Nunez-Rebel walked to load the bases, and Madison Wiley singled to bring home Frazier and Gamez. Nunez-Rebel came come as the Lady Tigers successfully executed the double steal.

Emily Noll was safe on an error and Makenzee Pounds, who was courtesy-running for Wiley, scored to give the Lady Tigers a 6-1 lead.

The Lady Meloneers answered with three runs in the bottom of the third. Krueger singled and took second on an error. McElroy singled home Krueger, and McElroy also moved up a base on an error.

Jayden Osborne doubled to plate McElroy.

Lexi Fernandez walked and Niqoule Knapp's bunt single brought home Jayden Osborne.

The Lady Tigers increased the lead by scoring one run in the fourth. Gamez singled and Hailee Ham, who was courtesy-running for Gamez, stole second. Nunez-Rebel singled and an error in the outfield allowed Ham to score.

Rocky drew a run closer in the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Osborne led off with a single and she advanced to third on a pair of groundouts. McElroy singled to send Taylor Osborne home and the La Junta lead was cut to 7-5.

The Lady Meloneers scored another run in the fifth. Jenna Kienitz led off with a pinch-hit double and she went to third on Taylor Osborne's groundout. A wild pitch allowed Karley Milberger, who had re-entered the game to score.

Rocky tied the score in the sixth. Krueger led off with a single, and McElroy and Jayden Osborne also singled to load the bases. Krueger scored the tying run on Knapp's sacrifice fly.

The seventh inning was scoreless and the game went into extra innings. Neither team scored in either the eighth or the ninth innings.

The Lady Tigers regained the lead with a run in the 10th. Noll doubled and came home on Gracelynn Goodrich's single.

The Lady Meloneers answered with a run in the bottom of the 10th. Krueger singled and an outfield error put her on second. McElroy singled home Krueger and the score was tied at 8-8.

La Junta went down in order in the top of the 11th and Rocky Ford scored the winning run in the bottom of the frame. Leila Chavez singled and was bunted to second by Taylor Osborne. An error on the play brought home Leila Chavez.

McElroy was the winning pitcher and she allowed eight runs and 12 hits. She struck out seven and walked four batters.

Wiley took the loss as she allowed nine runs and 18 hits. She struck out 11 and walked four.

Rocky Ford's offense was led by McElroy, who went 4-5 with three RBIs, Krueger, who went 4-6, Jayden Osborne, who went 3-5 with a double and one RBI, and Leila Chavez, who went 3-6.

The La Junta offense was led by Gamez, who went 3-6 with one RBI, Smith, who went 2-5 with one RBI, and Noll, who went 2-5.

ROCKY PLAYED WRAY ON FRIDAY

The Lady Meloneers were on the road as they faced Wray in Limon. Rocky remained undefeated as it defeated the Lady Eagles 10-0.

Rocky Ford took a 3-0 lead in the first and it scored six runs in the top of the third. The Lady Meloneers scored one more run in the fifth to end the game on the 10-run rule.

Fernandez pitched for Rocky and she earned the win and threw a no-hitter. She struck out seven and walked none.

Krueger was the Lady Meloneers' offensive leader as she went 3-3 with a double and two RBIs and Jaramillo went 2-3 with one RBI.

WHAT'S NEXT

La Junta (6-4, 2-0 Tri-Peaks League) will return to league play on Tuesday as it will face Alamosa on the road. The first pitch is at 4 p.m.

"We have to take care of those league games," Davis said.

Rocky Ford (9-0, 3-0) will return to Limon for a doubleheader with the Lady Badgers. The first game begins at 3 p.m.

ROCKY FORD 9, LA JUNTA 8

La Junta 105 100 000 10 — 8 12 6

Rocky Ford 103 111 000 11 — 9 18 5

Wiley (L) and Gamez. McElroy (W) and Jaramillo.

ROCKY FORD 10, WRAY 0

Rocky Ford 306 01 — 10 8 0

Wray 000 00 — 0 0 3

Fernandez (W) and Jaramillo. Torrance (L) and Aguilar.

Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email at khamrick@ljtdmail.com. Help support local journalism by subscribing to the La Junta Tribune-Democrat at lajuntatribunedemocrat.com/subscribenow.