By Ryan Ward
For the Courier
THORNTON — The Ken-Caryl Little League baseball team was defeated 10-0 by Fruita Monument during the first round of the Colorado state playoffs at Northern Lights Little League fields on July 21.
Fruita Monument, the defending state champions, jumped on the scoreboard by hitting back-to-back doubles to start the bottom half of the second inning. With just one out, another double stretched the lead to 2-0.
The top of the third inning started out promising for Ken-Caryl, but ended without producing a run. After a leadoff line drive was caught, the next two hitters reached to give Ken-Caryl two on with only one out. Unfortunately, Ethan Martinez struck out and Ari Fiener was caught in between second and third on the next at-bat, keeping the score at 2-0.
The lack of execution in the top of the third carried over to the bottom half for Ken-Caryl. A series of errors allowed Fruita to capitalize and score three times, pushing its lead to 5-0. Fruita never looked back and continued to push the lead as the game progressed. Its pitching proved to be superior and Fruita’s hitting came through in clutch time.
“We ran into some tough pitching. Their bats were hot (and) they got some early runs. I think we had four or five errors which are always tough to come back from,” said Ken-Caryl head coach Lance Roybal. “The good news is we get to play again. I think if we play to our abilities like we always talk about usually we have good outcomes. I don’t think we did that today.”
Starting catcher Brayden Roybal was disappointed but also proud of what this team has accomplished.
“We just can’t give them extra outs. I saw a lot of errors, but I think overall the team did good and they just hit better than us,” he said.
The Ken-Caryl Little League baseball team is looking to become the first team in state history to make the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa. In order for that to happen, it will need victories in the next four games. They will also need to be victorious in the Southwest Regional, which is scheduled for Waco, Texas, from Aug. 2-8.