Halen Raymond thought he was throwing the ball harder than usual. Catcher Austin Sadvar had no doubt.
"He was bringing it," Sadvar said, with a bag of ice on his glove hand after the game. "He usually throws around 59, and he was throwing something like 65. It was killing my hand"
Raymond spelled relief for the Tri-County Trojans, who went into the sixth inning against the Loveland Seminoles with a 6-5 lead.
"I was fired up," Raymond said. "The snap of the glove sounded louder."
Raymond retired the Seminoles in order, and the 12-and-under team made up of players from Craig, Meeker, Steamboat Springs and Hayden improved to 3-0 in the tournament.
"This team hasn't played any better," coach Rich Sadvar said. "It was the best game they played, and they had to it if they were to win."
It didn't look like the game was going to be a nail-biter after the first inning. The Trojans jumped out to a 4-1 lead. But the momentum in the game was about as fickle as the weather.
When a storm moved in with a westerly wind and sprinkles, the Seminoles took over the game. They scored a run in the second and three in the third to tie the game at five apiece.
"We lost focus when the rain came," Sadvar said. "But that's why we call them kids. It's hard to keep them focused for one inning let alone a game when it's raining."
When the rain cleared the Trojans were able to shed some light on the game's outcome.
In the top of the fifth inning, Corey Wojtkiewicz reached on a leadoff walk. Wojtkiewicz stole second and was leading off when the Seminoles pitcher turned and threw behind him. "Wojo" was caught with his momentum going toward third.
"I thought I was gone," he said. "He caught me leaning."
Instead, the throw back to second was wild, and Wojtkiewicz stole third and home to score the go-ahead run.
"I didn't think a one-run lead would stick," he said. "I really hoped somebody else would score."
The Trojans were shut out the rest of the fifth and in the sixth innings. Then Raymond came on in the sixth with the one-run lead.
"I was mad at the umps," he said about his attitude in the sixth after he watched coach Sadvar argue a call with an umpire in the bottom of the fifth. "I was pumped up to get the win since the umps had a bad call."
After the last out, Raymond pumped his first, and his teammates jumped around together.
"We are going to win our pool now," Sadvar told his team. "This is outstanding."
Like the Trojans, the Seminoles were 2-0 going into the game. So the win did give the Trojans the best record in the pool.
"With the win we reached the tournament, which was our goal," Sadvar said. "We've got some big momentum going into tomorrow."
The Trojans weren't done, in their third game of the day they defeated the Bear Creek Vipers, 22-6. Earlier in the day the Trojans defeated the Chatfield Vipers, 19-8.