Denny’s no-hitter advances Rio Blanco County Legion to state tournament in Craig
RANGELY I It’s hard to imagine a better finish.
It was the championship game of last weekend’s district baseball tournament at Eagle, and — get this — left-hander Kody Denny throws a no-hitter.
Rio Blanco County’s American Legion team won all four of its games in the tournament, including a 10-2 decision in the finale, to advance to this week’s state tourney in Craig.
Rio Blanco County will play its first game in the double-elimination state tournament at 11 a.m. Friday. RBC will play the winner of the Fleming vs. Craig game.
Denny, who will be a junior at Rangely Senior High, took it all in stride.
“He acted like it was nothing,” said RBC coach Paul Fortunato. “I said, ‘You just threw a no-hitter.’ He was like, I know. He’s just such a composed kid.”
While Kody Denny was pitching lights out — he won two of the games in the district tournament — his older brother, Kacey, was lighting up the other teams’ pitchers.
“Kacey was unconscious,” Fortunato said. “He hit a home run in the first game. He hit a walk-off single for the (run-rule) win against Steamboat (Springs in the second game). Then he hit a two-double to score two runs to put us ahead (in the third game) and I believe he was three for four in the championship game.”
In the district tournament, Rio Blanco County beat Summit County 7-3, Steamboat Springs 10-2, Eagle-Vail 9-6 and Eagle-Vail again in the title game 10-2.
“They came back out of the consolation bracket and played us in the championship game,” Fortunato said of the host team. “They were the No. 1 seed going in. We had the same record, but they had the tiebreaker.”
The combined Eagle-Vail team may have been the tournament’s highest seed, but, in the end, Rio Blanco County proved it deserved the top ranking.
“We were definitely the better team, and it showed this weekend,” Fortunato said. “Everything was solid this weekend. We didn’t have any mental errors. It was nice. Hopefully we can carry it over to the state tournament.”
Fortunato likes his team’s chances at state.
“I’m not trying to blow the boys heads up, but I feel good about it,” the RBC coach said. “We’ll just show up and play our game and hopefully come out on top.”