Title hopes alive

Steamboat Little League fares well

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Twelve-year-old Connor Landusky got just about everything he wanted during Monday afternoon's game against Leadville.

His team won the game, 18-4, to keep Steamboat's district title hopes alive, but as Steamboat made its way off the field, nobody could blame him for asking for one more thing.

"I really wanted to get up to the plate one more time," Landusky said. "I really wanted the single."

A single would have given the Steamboat player the cycle, but instead, Landusky will have to settle for the double, triple, home run that helped Steamboat win the game.

"I didn't hit the ball that well in the first two games," Landusky said. "It just sort of came together in this one."

Steamboat wasted little time in moving past Skyline, a team from Leadville in the 12-and-under division of the Little League District 3 playoffs Monday.

After losing the tournament opener to Grand County, 2-1, on Saturday, the team has been forced into a must-win situation in the double elimination tournament.

On Monday morning, Steamboat topped the Rocky Mountain All Stars in an 8-4 game.

Steamboat scored two runs in the second and four in the third to open up a comfortable lead in the game. They would hold it until the final inning, when several mistakes made the game closer than expected.

Steamboat pitcher Alex Estes struck out five batters through three innings and got some nice defensive help from second baseman Grant McCannon.

Steamboat opened up the scoring in the second inning when McCannon got a seeing-eye single that glanced off the pitcher's mound away from the gloves of a couple of Rocky Mountain infielders. John Burrow hit a grounder that allowed McCannon to advance to third, and then he scored on a wild pitch that found the backstop.

Blayne Conroy walked, setting up Christopher Holmquist's RBI single later in the inning that gave Steamboat a 2-0 advantage.

Steamboat took control in the third after Rocky Mountain pitcher William Cox walked Estes and then hit Ben Williams and Carson Becker to load the bases. McCannon cashed in with a three-run single. He also scored later in the inning to give Steamboat a 6-0 lead.

McCannon moved to pitcher in the third and struck out three batters in two innings. But he ran out of steam in the sixth and was forced to leave the game.

Rocky Mountain scored one run in the fifth and three more in the sixth (all on walks) to add some drama. But Becker came in and struck out the final two batters to secure the win.

Steamboat returned to the field a few hours later to take on Skyline.

The Steamboat team fell behind by a run in the top of the first, but scored nine runs in the bottom to take a lead it would never surrender. Landusky and backup Justin Anderson were a perfect three-for-three at the plate.

Anderson had two singles and a double and knocked in four runs.

Steamboat's leadoff batter Williams got on base and scored four times in the game.

Anderson, who came in the second inning to relieve a banged-up Becker, struck out four batters in two innings. Becker struck out two batters in one inning.

Steamboat made four errors in the game, but McCannon had another strong game. In the final inning, he made a diving stop, followed by a strong throw to give his team a key out.

Coach Mike McCannon was happy that he didn't have to use all of his starters in the game.

In addition to Anderson, Ryan Hall and Ryan Hogrefe also got into the game. Hogrefe and Hall were a combined two-for three at the plate.

Steamboat's march to a district title will continue today with a 9 a.m. game against Summit. If Steamboat wins that game, they will need to beat Grand County twice to win the title.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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