Palmer baseball coach Hagen thinks team will benefit from tournament despite loss in title game

July 14, 2013 Updated: July 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm
photo - Palmer pitcher Gabe Oakley and catcher Edwin Rivera try to get a batter out at first after a bunt on Sunday, July 14, 2013. . (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Palmer pitcher Gabe Oakley and catcher Edwin Rivera try to get a batter out at first after a bunt on Sunday, July 14, 2013. . (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

Falling in the championship game of their own tournament had Palmer baseball players upset with themselves.

But the Terrors already realized that making it to the final against talented competition and losing 3-2 in eight innings to one of the better club teams from Denver could be a sign of better things to come.

Hit Streak's Christian Maldonado scored in the bottom of the eighth on an error at Spurgeon Field on Sunday to claim the victory.

Palmer coach Mike Hagen knows the tournament will benefit his players.

"It builds confidence," Hagen said. "Right now they're frowning faces, but they have to realize they played a hard, eight-inning game against a really competitive team. They just need to keep their heads up and keep growing."

The tournament, held for the second consecutive year, consisted of eight teams and included teams from Kansas and New Mexico. The Terrors are hoping that seeing such diverse competition will prepare them for the 2014 season, one that will see only two seniors on the roster but plenty of juniors.

"It's fun," said pitcher Austin Alberts, who committed the error that allowed Maldonado to score. "You get to see more varsity pitching, more talent. You get a good experience for the regular season."

Alberts tied the score at 1 with an RBI-single in the second. One batter later Mitch Morse drove in Alberts with an RBI double. Hit Streak tied the score in the third and that's how it remained until the eighth.

Luke Demolli started for the Terrors. He went five-plus innings and threw 95 pitches, limiting Hit Streak to two runs and pitched out of jams in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

"I was thinking it (the tournament) was going to be tough," said Demolli, who will be a junior in the fall. "But we came together and really played well.

"We lost a lot of seniors ... I think this team has more talent than last year. I think we can do special things."

Hagen was excited to see his team overcome a loss on the first day of the tournament only to battle its way to the championship game.

"We have a young group of kids," he said. "We've been successful in other tournaments and we've been playing competitive baseball."

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