Spartans Claim Championship in Home Tournament
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
The Alliance Spartans were on a roll throughout the week, taking on a variety of teams early in the week and claiming the championship in the Clair Conley Tournament.
Last Tuesday, Alliance shutout the Post 22 Expos, scoring a total of 15 runs in the first four innings of play.
On Wednesday, the Spartans battled against Sidney, only allowing them to score one run in the seventh inning. The Spartans chalked up the win with a final score of 3-1.
Thursday brought with it a new challenger as Alliance took on Chadron. They overran Chadron with a score of 11-1.
On Friday, the Spartans saw action in two games. In the first, the Spartans battled with the Bridgeport Bombers, claiming victory with a final score of 2-1.
The Spartans proceeded to take on Gering Platte Valley Companies. Gering started the game strong, posting one run. The Spartans were able to prevent Gering from scoring again, however, they were unable to post a run. They fell to Gering with a final score of 1-0.
Following their defeat Friday, the Spartans bounced back as they took on Sidney again. The game was a shutout, as the Spartans scored eight runs in the first three innings.
In the championship match of the Clair Conley tournament, the Spartans squared off against Buckley on Monday night. The Spartans were able to post a total of five runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. They mounted a strong defense that kept Buckley from scoring until the sixth inning, when they posted three runs. The Spartans were victorious, wrapping up the tournament as champions with a final score of 5-3.
Spartans Coach Carlos Palomo said the tournament was a needed challenge for Alliance as they prepare for districts.
“It’s crazy how we’re about halfway into the season, and anyone can be beat,” said Palomo. “We had quite a few of our district opponents in our tournament. Buckley’s always a solid team. They beat us last year in the Clair Conley tournament.
“We lost a heartbreaker Friday versus Gering,” Palomo said. “It was a pitching duel, but I’m proud of the way the boys responded. They came together and competed. JJ Garza pitched his tail off, and we finally found a way to score, and I’m very proud of them.”
Palomo hopes to build on the momentum from the tournament to propel the Spartans through districts. He believes with their busy schedule that lies ahead, they will continue to better their performance.
“I love this feeling,” said Palomo. “I told the boys, ‘I want you to remember this, because we’re not done.’ This is awesome that we get to win a championship on our home turf, but I’m trying to prepare these boys to get hot at the right time, and that’s districts. We have about three weeks left, and we’re just going to keep grinding it out. We’re now 21-6. We’re going to enjoy this for a little bit, but tomorrow, it’s back to work.
“Our pitching and our defense has been very consistent throughout the entire year,” Palomo said. “At times they show a little bit of lacking confidence, but they’re competing, so I’m very proud of them.”
On Wednesday, the Spartans will face off against Casper Crush, followed by Spearfish on Thursday at home.