KCLL 9-10 team’s rally comes up short

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By Craig Harper
For the Courier

After rolling to a 10-run victory in its District 5 Little League opener, the Ken-Caryl 9-10 team dug itself deep holes in the next two games. The first resulted in a 13-1 loss to Cherry Creek. The second almost produced a comeback victory, but ended in a tournament-ending defeat.

KCLL spotted Academy a 6-0 lead in the second inning of their July 15 losers’ bracket game at the Mission Viejo fields in Aurora. The Colorado Springs team held on for a 7-5 win, but had to sweat out the bottom of the sixth when KCLL loaded the bases with two outs.

But Alex Leifhelt’s line drive found the Academy first baseman’s glove, a break that was typical of the game.

“We were hitting like crazy but right to them,” said KCLL coach Jason Novotny. “We hit four line drives right to their shortstop and stranded the bases loaded twice.”

Carl Dixon continued his torrid hitting, collecting two hits to finish 9-of-10 in the tournament. His lone out came with the bases loaded earlier in the game. Dylan Novotny batted .500 (5-for-10) with a hit against Academy and pushed his streak of games without a strikeout to 21 overall.

“Everybody contributed today; we just couldn’t find the holes,” Novotny said. “The boys all hit well throughout the tournament. It was more the defense that took us out of the last two games.’’

Vaughn Fines came on in relief in the second and, after giving up two runs, “pitched stellar ball” the rest of the game, Novotny said, giving KCLL a chance to rally.

Novotny added, “They did well for their first tournament, and the experience will help them in the years to come. Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity to coach them again.”