The Alliance FNBO Spartans Seniors did not let two early losses at the 35th annual Hladky Tournament in Gillette, Wyo. hold them back, as they rebounded to claim fifth.
The Spartans had a busy schedule over the course of the past week, competing in Gering on Wednesday evening, then traveling to Gillette to compete in the tournament, which began on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Spartans handed Gering a 2-1 defeat. Head Coach Carlos Palomo said strong pitching from Chase King gave the Spartans an edge.
“I knew going into the Gering game that we would have to pitch well and play good defense, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Palomo. “It was a close game, and it was pretty competitive as well. Chase King pitched a heck of a game, and kept the hitters off balance.”
On Thursday, the Spartans started pool play in the Gillette tournament against the home team, but were unable to post any runs. Gillette finished the game with an 8-0 victory over the Spartans. The next game saw another loss for the Spartans, as the Colorado Ducks defeated them with a final score of 4-1.
The Spartans chalked up their first victory in the tournament on Friday with a 4-2 win over Gallatin Valley. On Saturday, the Spartans carried that momentum, shutting out Rocky Mountain with a final score of 10-0.
In the final game, the Spartans claimed a narrow victory in a rematch against Gallatin Valley, with a final score of 9-8. They improved their season to 9-5.
Palomo said the two teams the Spartans lost two ended up in the championship match. He believes the competition provided in the tournament will help to sharpen each player’s skills.
“Going into the tournaments, I knew we were going to face some really good competition, and that’s exactly what we saw,” Palomo said. “Gillette is a very experienced veteran squad, and they threw their number one against us, who has committed to go to North Dakota State. He kept us off balance. Just to be able to see quality programs like we did is really good for our program as far as development.
“We dropped two games at the start of the tournament, and we battled back every day and we ended up finishing the weekend 3-2, which I was pretty pleased, especially this early in the season. I’m pretty pleased with the way JJ Garza and Chance Crowe Pitched over the weekend. We’ll just keep learning and growing as a team, and enjoying every moment of it for the rest of the season.”
On Tuesday evening, the Spartans took on Chadron at home. Results, however, were not available as of press time.