All-Stars comeback in grand fashion
The winning continues for the 9-10 Craig Bulldog All-Stars.
The ‘Dogs came back Wednesday morning from a 10-3 deficit in the second inning to send Grand County home with a 21-11 loss. The game was closer and more exciting than the score indicates as the All-Stars scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth, including a game-ending grand slam by Anthonee Coleman.
“That game was about as good as it gets,” coach Shane Camilletti said. “We played a heck of a game that was exciting for everybody.”
“I didn’t have a doubt that we were going to come back and win,” Coleman said after being carried off the field by his coach. “We just had to hit the ball and get things going.”
The game did not start as well for Coleman as it ended. The slugger opened up the game on the mound for the Bulldogs and struggled to find the strike zone. In the second, Cory Wojtkiewicz replaced the game’s eventual hero on the mound but was unable to get his pitches across the plate as well. In those innings, the Bulldog pitching staff gave up 10 runs and the little guys had to get the offense rolling fast.
After a two-out rally in the third to bring the ‘Dogs within three with a score of 11-8, the momentum started to swing to the hometown team.
“When we got back to 11-8, I knew we had it,” said Camilletti.
The length of the tournament and the July heat started to catch up with the Grand County pitchers in the fourth inning as the team went through three different pitchers and the Bulldogs capitalized, scoring six runs to take the lead.
“The pitchers were working with a tight strike zone,” Camilletti said. “That hurt us a lot in the beginning of the game and then it got to them at the end.”
Dylon Camilletti came in to pitch in the second inning on a day’s rest from pitching five innings on Monday. He allowed no earned runs the rest of the game and with several big strike outs when Grand County runners were on base, he put his team in position to catch the visitors with an offensive explosion in the last three innings.
With all of the excitement throughout the first four games of the tournament and the four and a half innings of the Grand County game, the hometown crowd reached a pinnacle in the bottom of the fifth.
Coleman, who already had coaches saying “big hitter, outfielders scoot back” when he came to the plate, teed off on a pitch with the bases loaded. As the ball cleared the fence there was some confusion whether or not it had bounced first, but once the umpire gave the arm-circling-round-the-head signal of a home run, the scene was something out of a childhood dream. Fans were running around giving high fives, the base runners were jumping up and down as they crossed the plate and coach Camilletti picked up the Bulldog power hitter high in the air.
“I just thought it was going to go too high,” said Coleman about his first out-of-the-park home run of the season. “Once it was over the fence I was happy because I knew we won.”
According to coach Camilletti, Coleman’s shot was the first ever real homerun for a 9-10 year old in Craig.
Looking to the championship game against Steamboat Springs
“We just have to keep playing our hardest each game,” outfielder Greg Blackstun said. “(Today) we have to do what we’ve done all tournament.”
“We’ve got plenty left,” Camilletti said. “With our lineup hitting well from the first guy to the ninth we’ll be hard to beat.”
The Bulldogs must beat Steamboat Springs twice to win the double-elimination tournament. If the team was able to defeat Steamboat at 10 a.m. today, the final championship game will be at 10 a.m. Friday as well.
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