Three Rivers Little League teams are moving on in postseason play |

Three Rivers Little League teams are moving on in postseason play

The Three Rivers Little League Majors team won the District 1 championship in Grand Junction by defeating Grand Mesa 14-2 in the title game.
Shannon Dodds/Courtesy photo

VAIL — Three Rivers Little League teams have enjoyed a bevy of postseason success, winning three Little League District 1 titles in Grand Junction over the weekend and qualifying a softball team to the Little League regional tournament as well.

The 11U, Majors (12U) and Juniors baseball teams are headed to the state tournament and the Juniors softball team, being the only team in the state playing, qualified for the regional in New Mexico later this month. The 10U, 50/70 and Majors softball teams also made their respective district finals as well, but lost in the championship games.

“The Three Rivers Little League board is thrilled to have had such great success in our season and postseason,” said president Holly Strablizky.

The volunteer-driven league provides baseball and softball opportunities for boys and girls from Vail to Glenwood Springs to Aspen. Minors (7 to 10-years-old), Majors (11 and 12-year-olds), Intermediate 50/70 (12 and 13-year-olds) and Juniors (13 and 14-year-olds) as well as two softball divisions contest 16-24 games between early March and the end of May, culminating in a division playoffs.

After the regular season concludes, an All-Star team forms with the league’s best players in each age group. Those teams contest a district tournament, followed by a state tournament, where winners advance to a regional. From there, teams can qualify for the Little League World Series.

In 2021, the TRLL All-Star Juniors baseball and softball clubs won both districts and state, but were unable to contest regions due to COVID-19.

As the Vail Daily reported in an April feature on the league, Three Rivers has grown from a then-record 400 participants last year to 470 this season. Eagle County teams have gradually started to find themselves more consistently at the top of the season-long standings, a spot that had in the past belonged mostly to Roaring Fork clubs.

“I think a win for Eagle County is we have been winning the divisional championships games over the last few years whether it’s juniors or majors,” Major’s assistant coach Ben Dodds said in April.

Three Rivers Little League Majors softball team after placing second in the district 1 tournament over the weekend.
Three Rivers Little League/Courtesy photo

“We’re building competitive teams.”

Last year, the league contained one Majors softball team and one Juniors softball team for regular season play. This year there were four Majors teams and two Juniors.

“So the interest in softball is peaking and we’re really proud that we have a venue for these young female athletes to play,” commented Strablizky.

The Majors softball squad lost its first game before winning its second, allowing them to face Colorado River Valley in the district final, where the team’s season ultimately ended with a 22-5 loss.

Head coach Tom Dion and assistants Jason Neuman and Dodds led the 12U team over Grand Mesa 14-2 to win the Little League Majors district title on Saturday. At the 7 p.m. start, the temperature was 100 degrees, according to Dodds. After scoring three runs in the top of the second inning, Three Rivers “broke the game open in the third,” as reported.

The game only lasted four innings thanks to Eagle’s Hudson Rozga’s lights-out pitching at Files Park in Grand Junction. Aspen’s Clayton Folk went 4-for-4 from the plate to lead Three Rivers offensively.

The 12U state tournament begins on Saturday in Thornton, where Three Rivers has a first-round bye. The team will play at 10 a.m. at Northern Lights Little League Fields.

“What’s exciting about this team (players from Eagle to Aspen) is that this is the only division that can head to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA,” stated Dodds in an email.

If the local team wins state, the boys would head to Waco, Texas, for regions, where they can earn a chance to potentially play in front of millions of viewers on ESPN in the World Series.

The 11U squad will have the added bonus of hosting the state tournament, which runs July 15-19. July 15-18 will be at Eagle Fairgrounds with the possibility of a game in Gypsum if the tournament extends to the 19th.

Three Rivers 11U team also dispatched Grand Mesa to win its district championship, using a 6-run second inning en route to a 7-3 win. Colton Folk drove in two runs on a triple and Henry Reintjes and Ladson Whitaker “turned in stellar diving catches in the win,” as reported.

The Three Rivers Little League Juniors defeated Colorado River Valley 11-10 to win the District 1 championship over the weekend.
Emily Bonfoey/Courtesy photo

The most drama-filled tournament involved the 14U team. Trailing 10-9 in the top of the seventh inning, William Townsend singled on a 1-1 count, driving in two runs to propel Three Rivers to a comeback win over Colorado River Valley 11-10.

James Bivins started on the mound for Three Rivers and struck out five in just two innings, allowing no hits or runs and walking one. Anthony Ehlert went 4-for-4 from the plate as Three Rivers had 12 hits. The real story occurred along the basepaths, as Three Rivers stole 13 bases to advance to clinch a state tournament bid.


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