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RANGELY I County rivals. Championship game. It doesn’t getting any better than this.
Unless you’re Rangely.
The team from the west end of the county run-ruled its county rival from the east end 18-8 Friday night in the 13-15-year-old Northwest League baseball championship.
Early on, though, it looked like Meeker was going to cruise to an easy win, leading 8-2 after four innings.
“Joel (Matrisciano, coach) had the Meeker kids lined up to put us away,” said Tim Webber, Rangely coach. “Next thing you know, we started hitting. All of a sudden, we just turned it on and the floodgates opened.”
Indeed they did.
Rangely went on to outscore Meeker 16-0 to win by the 10-run rule in six innings
While the Rangely bats came alive as the game went on, it was pitching that played a key role in the eventual outcome.
“It boiled down to pitching in the end,” Webber said. “Fortunately, Bryson (Palacios) was able to throw strikes.”
Palacios, Rangely’s starting catcher and a member of both the Rangely Senior High and Rio Blanco County American Legion baseball teams, offered to pitch when Rangely was running out of pitchers.
“None of my pitchers could find the strike zone and he said, ‘I can pitch, coach,’” Webber said. “He hasn’t pitched all year. He hasn’t pitched the last few years, that I know of. Next thing you know, he strikes those kids out and we started hitting.”
Palacios was hitting the ball all game long.
“He knocked in the go-ahead run. He actually went eight for eight that day, and he had been struggling all year long,” Webber said. “Finally, he broke out. It was just confidence.”
The season-ending tournament was a good note to finish on, but Webber said his players want to keep playing.
“It was a lot of fun (last weekend’s tournament). Those kids from Meeker are a good bunch of guys,” Webber said. “My kids want to find another tournament to get in this year before it’s all said and done. They want to keep playing. I’ll call Joel (Matrisciano) and see if some of those (Meeker) kids would want to play. That’s what’s neat about this. It all starts with these kids having fun and playing.