The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado on June 25, 2012 · 14
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The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado · 14

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Monday, June 25, 2012
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Mariners made him their No. 1 draft pick after his All-America season at Mesa. Padres manager Bud Black called Akerfelds “an invaluable member of the Padres coaching staff.” Akerfelds had been bullpen coach for San Diego since June 2001. He was diagnosed with cancer in December 2010. Last season, Akerfelds attended 148 of 162 games despite undergoing chemotherapy. He was still with the team in the early part of this season before he stopped coming to the ballpark in mid-April. He played professional baseball for 12 seasons and appeared in 125 Major League games. He was 9-10 with a 5.08 ERA pitching for Oakland, Cleveland, Texas and Philadelphia. Hamilton said Akerfelds threw a nasty, split-finger fastball that was too tough for small-college players. “It took a few years to master in the big leagues, but against collegiate kids, throwing 95, it may go out of the strike zone, in the dirt, but it would take care of you. He was a competitor.” Akerfelds went 10-3 and averaged 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings for the Mavericks. Hamilton recalled a practical joke some of his teammates played on Akerfelds. “Some guys picked up his VW and moved it sideways over at the old fieldhouse,” Hamilton said, laughing at the memory. “It got stuck between cars and he couldn’t get it out. He got so mad, I thought he was gonna kill somebody. It was pretty funny. “He was just a good guy.” AKERFELDS: He had been the bullpen coach for the San Diego Padres ➤ Continued from page 1B Ledebur wins fifth Community Hospital junior tournament title Luke Ledebur didn’t start playing tennis tournaments until he was 12. Now, the Grand Junction 18-year-old is a five-time Community Hospital junior tournament singles champion. “I didn’t think I’d win four more after winning my first,” he said of the tourney that previously was sponsored by Elam Construction and McDonald’s. “It’s cool having won five in a row. I don’t think I’ve ever won five in a row of anything else.” Ledebur won his third consecutive boys 18-under singles title Sunday, defeating Drake Giese 6-2, 6-1 in the final at Colorado Mesa University’s Elliott Tennis Center. “I felt like I played good,” Ledebur said. “I’m trying to get back, play a little more and get in shape for the college season. I thought playing in this tournament is a good start to get back into it.” Ledebur started his title streak in 2008 with the 14-under title. He won the 16-under in 2009 before moving up to the 18-under as a 16-year-old. The toughest of the five titles, he said, was “the fifth one because I was able to keep it going. It can be (tough to defend). Anytime I’m the top seed there’s a little bit more pressure.” The Grand Junction High School graduate and state place-winner accomplished the feat in the midst of meeting the challenge of autism. He is going to play at CMU in the fall. “I had to have been playing pretty good (to beat Ledebur),” Giese said. “Luke’s a solid player. He really has no downfall. His ground strokes are so well-placed.” Giese, 16, turned around and won the boys 16-under singles By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH Allen.Gemaehlich@gjsentinel.com title defeating Max Proietti 6-3, 6-4 shortly after the 18s final. “This one’s nice because it’s people I know,” said Giese of the 16s. “I didn’t win it last year, so I really wanted to win it.” Giese took second place in the 16-under singles draw last year, losing to Caleb Gartner. “This summer I decided I’m going all in to tennis,” Giese said. “Baseball and basketball weren’t as much fun. I love tennis, and it works all year round for me. It’s the sport I have the most fun and have the best coaches.” Giese will be a junior at Palisade High School. He played No. 2 singles for Central last fall because Palisade doesn’t have a boys tennis program. Although he hopes to challenge for the No. 1 singles spot this fall, Giese’s long-term goal is to get a scholarship to play col- lege tennis one day. He’s playing several tournaments this summer, including another one this week in Boulder. He played a tournament a week ago in Salt Lake City. “I wanted to play the best I can,” Giese said. “My goals were to make it this far, and I did. I wanted to make it to all the finals and win the 16s.” Brody Cupp won the boys 14-under singles title over Ian Hegstrom, who had to default with a migraine. Julianna Campos, 10, of Grand Junction is already looking for competition with older girls and is succeeding. She won the Community Hospital girls 14-under and 12-under singles titles. She was 3-0 in the 14-under round-robin draw, winning all three matches in straight sets. DEAN HUMPHREY/ The Daily Sentinel Drake Giese, who lost to Luke Ledebur in the boys 18-under championship match 6-2, 6-1, won the boys 16-under singles title, defeating Max Proietti, 6-3, 6-4. in the ninth that turned into a double play. “I immediately thought foul ball. “I looked down and didn’t see the ball in fair territory, so I step out to regroup myself, and the catcher’s throwing to second base.” Home plate umpire Jared Ferrans ruled the ball was in front of the plate in fair territory, and Juan Ciriaco was doubled up at second. Right after that, David Dahl laced a double down the right-field line that would have likely scored the speedy Ciriaco. “That’s a tough play right there,” Grand Junction manager Tony Diaz said. “I went to argue a little bit, but it’s really a tough play. He said he saw it in front of the plate. “I think it happened to our big-league club this year, I’m almost positive it happened in Denver. We were confused and ended up turning a double play. It’s a tough play.” The Rockies (3-4) led until the seventh inning, when reliever Tony Seise, also making his pro debut, struggled with his early control, walking the first two batters. Both ended up scoring to force a 4-4 tie. Ethan Chapman’s bunt toward third got one run home when Kyle Newton, in his first game after breaking his nose in minicamp, charged and threw to first, bu t no one was covering the bag. The ball sailed into right field, allowing Carlos Garcia to score. Adalberto Mondesi grounded into a double play, scoring Nick DelGuidice, before a nice play by shortstop Jason Stolz robbed Elier Hernandez of a base hit and ended the inning. Jin-Ho Shin hit a home run in the eighth off Rayan Gonzalez for the winning run, and DelGuidice added a solo shot in the ninth. “It was a first pitch,” Del- Guidice said of the home run. “It looked like it was a slider. It stayed inside a little bit. I was expecting the ball to be in. It didn’t look like a straight fastball. It stayed up a little bit, and I got the barrel on it.” The Rockies, who open a three-game series at Suplizio tonight against Ogden, hit to all fields early to pick up two runs in the first inning. After White’s double, David Dahl, the Rockies’ No. 1 draft pick, grounded to second, moving the runner to third. Stolz, playing in his seventh straight game, but for the first time at shortstop, laced a double to the right-field corner, scoring White. He moved up on a groundout by Ben Waldrip and scored on a wild pitch before Ryan Garvey singled to left. Grand Junction added one run on the fourth on singles by Carl Thomore, Wilfredo Rodriguez, who went 2 for 4 in his first game, and Juan Ciriaco. Newton’s ground ball in the sixth scored another run. But that was all the Rockies could do against Idaho Falls’ bullpen, with only 10 men getting to the plate over the final three innings. ROSTER MOVES Two roster moves involving the GJ Rockies were made Sunday, with catcher Drew Beuerlein and infielder Miguel De Leon both promoted, a club official confirmed. Beuerlein caught in two games going 2 for 8 (.250). The 24-year-old switch-hitter was promoted to Class A Asheville (N.C.) in the South Atlantic League. The Tourists have only two catchers; the Rockies had five. Beuerlein was drafted in 2010 by the Los Angeles Angels, but released after that season. He caught on with the Rockies this year as a nonroster bullpen catcher. De Leon is heading to Class A (short season) Tri-City in the Northwest League after playing in five of the Rockies’ first seven games, hitting .222 with one double and two home runs. Colorado Mesa University product Kris Carlson was called up from Tampa’s Rookie affiliate to Class A Advanced Charlotte (N.C.) this past week and pitched 2/3 of an inning against Bradenton, Fla., and was sent back to the Rookie Gulf Coast League team Saturday. STREAK: The Rockies led the game until the seventh ➤ Continued from page 1B tional night.” Ray pointed to the beer stand underneath the right-field bleachers near the main gate as a non-problem area. “I’ve noticed this beer stand at the main gate had less traf- fic than any place, and it was strictly a beer stand and water,” Ray said. “Because it was new, I don’t think the fans realized it was available.” Ray said he did receive some complaints, but a vast majority of the fans he spoke to or heard from were positive about their experience at Grand Junction’s first professional baseball game. “Even last night I would say 90 percent of our fans were very optimistic,” Ray said. “They knew we were trying to get people in and out. “I received two negative emails and one negative phone message. The rest were extremely positive. Our people were thanked by a lot of the Grand Junction folks to get them in and out. There was a ton of people that congratulated us and thanked us.” Ray said the Rockies don’t plan to have vendors walk through the stands serving food and beverages. “I don’t think you’re going to see those type of crowds the rest of the season, so it’s really a non- issue,” Ray said. “It was (Saturday) night, no question. “It’s a good problem to have. In Casper, we never had this problem because we didn’t have the fans.” LINES: The Rockies don’t plan on having vendors walk through the stands ➤ Continued from page 1B “It was super fun,” Campos said with a bright smile. “I feel this is my best tournament ever that I played my best in. It was probably the most fun because I got to play the 14-year- olds, and I’m only 10.” Campos played in her first tennis tournament last summer. She won the Taco Bell Western Slope Open girls 10-under title and took second in the 12-under. Campos said watching her older brother, Gabriel, and older sister, Carolena, play in tournaments inspired her to try it. “My family has played tennis, except we’re working on my dad now,” Campos said. Luke Aubert won the boys 12-under title with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Cal Hegstrom. Anne Hughes won the girls 16-under singles title Saturday. OMAHA, Neb. — Konner Wade threw his third straight complete game, Robert Refsnyder homered for the second game in a row and Arizona beat two-time defending national champion South Carolina 5-1 in the opener of the College World Series finals Sunday night. Wade (11-3) limited the Gamecocks to six hits in a steady outing to help the Wildcats (47-17) move within a win of their first national championship since 1986 and fourth overall. The Gamecocks (49-19) swept UCLA and Florida in the best-of- three finals the past two years but now need to beat Arizona twice to become the first team since Southern California in the early 1970s to win three championships in a row. Refsnyder, batting .444 (8 of 18) in the CWS, went 2 for 3 and was intentionally walked twice. He hit a two-run homer off Forrest Koumas (2-3) in the first to give Arizona the lead, and scored in the fifth on Bobby Brown’s single to make it a four-run game. Refsnyder, who has eight homers this season, also went deep Thursday in the Wildcats’ bracket-winning victory over Florida State. His home run Sunday was the first allowed by South Carolina in 77 innings. Refsnyder also showed off his arm in right field, throwing out Adam Matthews when he tried to go from first to third on Kyle Martin’s single in the seventh. Wade has won four straight starts in the postseason. He worked eight innings against Louisville in regionals, nine in the super regional-winning victory over St. John’s, and threw a complete-game shutout against UCLA last Sunday. Wade is 4-0 with a 1.29 in four NCAA tournament starts (35 innings, five earned runs). He struck out three. His walk to Walker in the sixth was the first he issued in 31 innings. The Arizona bullpen was inactive until Christian Walker singled leading off the ninth. Wade got a fly out, groundout and foul out to end the game. Arizona, which hasn’t trailed in the CWS, scored unearned runs in the third and fifth innings. No. 9 batter Trent Gilbert reached to start the third when shortstop Joey Pankake flubbed his grounder. Gilbert moved to third on Joey Rickard’s hit and scored on Alex Mejia’s single to left. Seth Mejias-Brean drove in a run in the fifth after Johnny Field reached third on a wild pitch and error. Arizona beats S. Carolina in CWS opener By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Arizona pitcher Konner Wade (48) is hugged by Mathew Troupe (44) after Wade pitched a complete game Sunday against South Carolina in Game 1 of the NCAA College World Series baseball finals in Omaha, Neb. Arizona won 5-1. T here’s a reason why, when you score a baseball game, the pitcher is position 1. It all starts with the guy on the bump. In the span of seven games, the Grand Junction Rockies’ pitchers have, for the most part, figured out it all starts with them. Keep the ball down, throw strikes and let your fielders do the work. You don’t have to strike everybody out. For Sunday’s starter, Alving Mejias, it came down to becoming a stand-up guy. “Compared to my last start to this one, I was working on standing a little taller and throwing the ball more in front, and that’s what I did today,” he said. In his first start Tuesday at Ogden, Utah, Mejias lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out three. Sunday, he went 4 1/3 innings, allowed two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four. He still fell behind in the count too often, which is why he didn’t pitch deeper in the game, manager Tony Diaz said, but progress was made. “There was improvement. His only blemish was he went deep in counts,” Diaz said. “He got ahead, but then he got behind. It caused him to come out of the game earlier, but his outing gave us a chance.” Mejias said he felt more confident on the mound. “The first night I was excited,” he said. “This time I kept within myself and was more confident.” Pitching coach Ryan Kibler has seen his staff show marked improvement in only two weeks. “I’m seeing everybody as a whole getting more comfortable with their surroundings and the atmosphere, the day-to-day process of what we’re going to do to get better,” Kibler said. “That just builds confidence, that confidence to throw the ball over the plate and trust their stuff. They’ve got good stuff.” Sometimes too good. Young pitchers try to do a little too much, and they wind up in trouble. It happened early to Mejias, but he’s starting to figure it out. “He stuck with that adjustment today and sometimes he tries to do too much,” Kibler said. “I’m tired of him getting ahead of a guy 0-1 and you look at the scoreboard and he’s down 2-1 (in the count). That’s just him trying to do too much. “He needs to (think), ‘I’m going to keep attacking this guy, get contact with the second pitch and let my defense work for me.’ That’s something he has to realize will make him better.” Tonight’s starter, Johendi Jiminian, made his first start in the United States last week and struggled from the get- go, walking six in three innings. Kibler is confident Jiminian, who has been dealing with blisters on the two middle fingers of his pitching hand, will be better tonight. “He had callouses that didn’t callous really well, and now they’ve turned into blisters, with the skin rolling up over his fingernail,” Kibler said. “Hopefully he’ll be more comfortable (tonight), he’ll know what to expect. He’s got some of the best stuff of anybody in this league.” Acrylic fingernails are helping prevent the skin on Jiminian’s fingers from rolling over his natural fingernails, which were too short. Hey, whatever works. The Rockies’ walks-to-strikeouts ratio is getting back in line. In their first three games, all losses, the Rockies pitchers walked 22 and struck out 18, including the 14-walk, four-strikeout meltdown in the series finale at Ogden, a 13-4 loss. The past four games (a 3-1 record), they’ve struck out 27 and walked 13. “We use those bad results from early on last week,” Kibler said. “You’ve got walks and you’re getting behind hitters, look at the result at the end of the night: 13 runs and we’re getting beat.” They left Odgen and turned it around at Idaho Falls. “That three-game win streak right there, we were getting ahead of hitters, the walks are cut in half and show them the results at the end of the night, and we’ve got wins,” Kibler said. “I’d like to think that’s clicking, and they’re recognizing, ‘You know what, we’re onto something around here without the walks and (if) we’re getting ahead of hitters.’ That wins ballgames and creates some success.” GJ Rockies’ pitchers learning their roles 4B The Daily Sentinel • Monday, June 25, 2012

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