GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Fruita Monument hasn't had the best overall record this year, but since the Southwestern League schedule began, they've been at the top of the standings.
Beginning with early wins over Grand Junction and Central, followed by wins over Durango and Cortez in late March, the Wildcats quietly rose above as the others traded spots in the middle of the pack.
It looked like this team could be for real when they took down Montrose in early April to improve to 5-0 in the SWL. They made it to 6-0 after taking the other game from Cortez before things slowly began to fall apart.
The Wildcats fell on the road to Durango 16-9, then lost two and three-run games against Grand Junction and Central respectively. Still, as the others continued to trade wins, they could nail down the league title with a win Tuesday afternoon at Montrose in their regular season finale.
The Indians were one of three teams still with a possibility to win, and sent their ace, Tyrus Lopez to the mound. He pitched a terrific game, striking out 12 batters and only allowing three hits.
Fruita got a great pitching performance from Connor Harmon, who left the game after five innings, allowing just one run, a solo home run off the bat of Curtis McCall.
One run would be all they'd need though, as Lopez shut the Cats down. Kam DeVincentis added a two-run homer in the sixth inning to make it 3-0, the final score.
The Indians then waited on the late game at Suplizio Field between the Tigers and Warriors. Central still had a shot, but would need to win against their inter-city rivals, and force a winner-takes-all showdown with Montrose on Friday.
Grand Junction and Central went to extra innings, and in the top of the ninth inning, the Tigers rattled off five runs to take the 7-2 lead.
That was too big of a hole for the Warriors to climb out of, as they only put one run up, giving the Tigers the 7-3.
As they did last year, Montrose (13-2, 7-2) claims the SWL title, regardless of the outcome of their regular season finale with Central on Friday.