Although his team was on the brink of elimination, American Legion Post 62 shortstop Carlos Maldonado wasn’t about to give up.
With Fort Morgan holding a 15-2 lead over Moffat County Friday night during the second round of the American Legion state tournament in Craig, Maldonado dug in against Fort Morgan’s Ulises Hernandez.
After a pick-off throw nabbed his brother, Gabriel, Carlos teid to extend the rally.
“As soon as I saw the pitch, I just swung as hard as I could,” he said. “It felt good — I felt it pop.”
His drive landed 10 feet past the leftfield fence, and while it cut No. 6 Fort Morgan’s lead to 15-3, where the score would stay, it was a special moment for the incoming Moffat County High School junior.
“It was my first home run,” he said. “I just watched it and waited for it to bounce over the fence.”
Despite the home run, No. 7 seeded Moffat County was unable to top Fort Morgan, and was bounced from the American Legion state tournament.
Fort Morgan will play No. 1 Rangely at 10 a.m. today at Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave.
While the loss stung, Maldonado said the Bulldogs will be back next year.
“We’re a really young team,” he said. “I hope we get a lot of our guys back for next year.
“Then, we’ll play ball.”
Steamboat 14, Battle Mountain/Eagle Vly 8.
In the 8 a.m. game, No. 5 Steamboat Springs was able to upend No. 3 seed Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley, 14-8.
Steamboat led 7-5 in the top of the sixth inning, then exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 14-5 lead.
Battle Mountain refused to go away, however.
After Gavin Van Pelt retired the first batter, a pair of walks brought up Gavin Blevins.
Blevins connected with a Van Pelt offering, and sent the pitch over the centerfield wall.
But, it proved to be too little, as Steamboat was able to hold on for the win.
Fleming 8, Rangely 5
In the 11 a.m. game, No. 1 seeded Rangely was unable to climb out of an early hole against No. 2 Fleming, and fell, 8-5.
Fleming scored five runs in the first inning, and the Panthers were not able to answer until the third inning, when they plated two runs.
Rangely was able to cut the score to 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth, but Fleming added three insurance runs to advance to the quarterfinals.
Rangely 14, Steamboat Springs 3
Shortly after falling to Fleming, the Panthers came out with a vengeance.
Rangely had a five runs in the first inning, three runs in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth in their rout of Steamboat.
The Panthers’ BJ Hamburg had a three run home run in the first inning, then added a two-run blast in the second on his way to 5 RBI.
Strasburg 11, Fort Morgan 3
The two teams, which had matched up three times earlier in the season, again found themselves playing on the same field.
No. 4 seeded Strasburg plated two runs in the bottom of the second, but No. 6 Fort Morgan responded immediately with three runs of their own in the top of the third.
Strasburg would add two more in the bottom half of the third to make it a 4-3 ballgame.
Strasburg would three more runs in the fourth and four more runs in the sixth to advance to play Fleming.