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RANGELY I Rangely’s 8-9-10-year-old baseball team, sponsored by the Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Parks District, finished the regular season with one defeat, which it later avenged, and went on to win the league championship last week in Rifle.
“These kids really improved throughout the year,” coach Ryan Torsell said of his championship team.
The league consisted of two teams each from Rifle and New Castle while Rangely, Parachute and Silt were all represented by one team.
Rangely finished the regular season with a 4-1 record, losing 3-1 to the team from Silt at home early in the season. However, the two teams would meet again in the tournament semifinals, after Rangely beat New Castle 2, to advance.
“New Castle had great pitching and we couldn’t string hits together, but we were able to get four runs and, with great pitching of our own, that was enough,” coach Torsell said of Kobey Chism and Jackson Aguirre’s pitching in the opening game of the league tournament.
“Also, Zeek Gianinetti hit a line drive to left for a triple, which made his grandma proud, and Clay Allred also hit the ball well,” the coach said.
Having Colorado Highway 64 closed just outside of Rangely made the team detour on the road but not in the bracket. The young Panthers were on the road to a championship and playing the team from Silt, which gave them their only defeat, so nothing would detour them from their goal.
“We knew we had to hit the ball to win this game and that is exactly what we did,” coach Torsell said of the 9-3 victory. “Bryce Lambros, Hudson Torsell, Marcos Quintana and Jeren Blankenship all scored runs.”
The win advanced Rangely to the championship game against New Castle 1, and coach Torsell said, through parent talk, “We heard this was a tough team, so we went into it guns blazing.”
Coach Torsell said the whole team played well, and they won 13-6.
“Dylan Smuts was a wall catching and after one inning he came up to me and said, ‘I didn’t miss one ball that time,’” coach Torsell said. “All of the kids were having fun.”
Coach Torsell said Landon Williams, Grady Aguirre, Marcos Quintana, Jackson Aguirre, Jaxon Torsell, Landon Carlson, Zeek Gianinetti, Kobey Chism, Dylan Smuts, Hudson Torsell, Jeren Blankenship, Bryce Lamros all reached base in the championship game, as did Zeek Gianinetti, who was beaned by a ball and “took it like a champ!”
Coach Torsell wanted to thank coaches Michael Chism and Casey Aguirre as well as all of the parents for their support during the season.