Strikes came easy for the Colorado Cutthroat pitchers through four innings of the team's first Triple Crown Mountain Magic tournament game Friday. Then in the fifth inning, finding the catcher's mitt became difficult for the 10-and-under team.
"Our first pitcher got a little tired," coach Mark Nielsen said. "Then Ivan (Nielsen) seemed a little nervous, and things fell apart."
Mark Doolin had breezed through the Fort Collins Grizzlies' lineup with nine strikeouts through four innings. The Cutthroats went into the bottom of the fifth with a 1-0 lead.
After a leadoff single in the fifth, the Grizzlies had the winning run at the plate. The base runner advanced to third on two passed balls and tied up the game after catcher Mason Updike couldn't hold onto a third strike and threw to first. When he threw, the runner on third scored for the Grizzlies to tie it up.
Ivan Nielsen replaced Doolin on the mound with two outs and runners at second and third. Three walks and two passed balls later, the Grizzlies had pulled away for a 4-1 victory.
In the Cutthroats' second game, which was played Friday night after rain delays, they were trailing 7-1 after the first inning against the Englewood Warriors.
"We've had a heck of an improvement since our first tournament during Memorial Day Weekend," coach Nielsen said. "The guys really hit the ball well, we just couldn't get the runs in."
After a 40-minute rain delay in between the third and fourth innings, the Cutthroats came out swinging. They earned leadoff hits in the fourth and fifth innings. With runners on third with one out both times, the team made of Craig and Hayden players threatened to add to its 1-0 lead. The Grizzlies were able to hold them off and caused the Cutthroats to strand two runners in the fourth and three in the fifth.
"I think leaving the runners on kind of got our kids down," Nielsen said. "They'll come back, and I think we'll see even more improvement."
Because of rain delays, all of the Triple Crown games were moved to later times Friday and one was rescheduled for today or Sunday. The 12-and-under Tri-County Trojans were the only players not to play both their scheduled games Friday, but they were able to capture an 8-6 win against the Loveland Wildcats.
In their first game, the 11-and-under Lynx defeated the Loveland Hawks, 7-4. The game was an anticipated rematch of the Colorado Triple Crown State Championship game last year, which the Hawks won. In the Lynx's second game they dominated the Broomfield Bombers, 19-0.
Weather permitting, all games will go on as scheduled today. That means the Cutthroats will play at 8 a.m. and noon in Oak Creek. The Lynx will play in Steamboat Springs' Ski Town complex at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Trojans are scheduled to be at Loudy Simpson for games at noon and 4 p.m.