Craig All-Stars title hopes over | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig All-Stars title hopes over

Elwood Shelton

Billy Ivey, one of the 10- to 12-year-old Craig All-Star team’s pitchers, has been part of a Little League team looking to go the distance this year.

In the district tournament the team that won all of its games by the ten-run mercy rule, except for the championship game against Rocky Mountain from Idaho Springs.

The All-Stars looked to do the same Saturday in the first game of the state tournament, but found themselves in an unusual position – the loser’s bracket. The team would be sent home after two consecutive losses, ending its title run.

“Sure, I’m disappointed that we didn’t make it further in the state tournament, but I more proud of what we achieved this season,” Ivey said.

The All-Stars began the state tournament Saturday at Denver’s Perl-Mack Park against North Boulder.

The North Boulder team seemed to be similar to the competition that the All-Stars have been facing throughout the tournament beatable. However, one inning would be all that it would take to undo the team’s chances of winning.

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“In the second inning, the boys just had some trouble in the field and the Boulder team took advantage of it,” Coach Buddy Grinstead said.

The North Boulder team won the game 10-12, placing the Craig All-Stars in the tournament’s loser’s bracket.

Although the team dropped the game by the narrowest of margins, that didn’t prevent some players from having a good day.

Brad Grinstead and Ivey both went 3-4, and J.P. Hadden stroked a grand slam in the top of the fifth inning.

The game also saw its share of All-Star pitchers working, with three hurlers taking the mound.

“The thing that was hard about the Boulder game was we could have beat those guys,” Ivey said. “They weren’t any better than teams we faced before them.”

On Sunday, playing in temperatures that reached 103-degrees, the All-Stars were pitted against a hard throwing and hard hitting Grand Mesa team. Grand Mesa ended any hopes that the team had for a state championship, winning the game by a score of 15-5.

“Grand Mesa had a pitcher that was consistently throwing around 70-miles per hour,” Grinstead said. “The fastball was all he had, but it was all he needed.”

Grand Mesa jumped out to a nine-run lead in the second inning, forcing the All-Stars to play a game of catch-up.

Both Jake and Josh Satterwhite hit home runs, with Jake hitting a solo shot in the second inning and Josh hitting another solo-home run in the fourth.

One of the biggest problems that the All-Stars faced was the seven of runners they left stranded against Grand Mesa, as they left seven runners on base.

“We got down early in the game, and when your battling back from a nine-run deficit, it gets pretty tough,” Grinsted said. “But I’m proud that the team didn’t give up, they tried to battle back and did get some runs on the board.”

The 10- to 12-year-old All-Stars will be forced to rebuild after this season’s success, losing all but four of the team’s players to the next level.

Grinsted remains optimistic about next year’s chances, although working with the incoming players remains a challenge.

“The group coming up is good and ready to win,” Grinsted said. “And, this year’s All-Stars that I coached, will fair well in the older division, too.”

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