A total of 20 teams competed over the weekend in the third annual Cherry Days softball tournaments.

For the second straight year, the defending champion Hitmen and Gonzalez Construction played for the championship and a $500 prize.

The two teams first met in the semifinal round, with the Hitmen, a team from Grand Junction with a couple of players from Montrose and Delta, claiming the win. Because it's a true double-elimination game, Gonzalez won the consolation bracket to advance to the championship game. A win by the Hitmen would have ended the tournament, but Gonzalez surprised them with a win, forcing an 'if' game. With a 4-3 lead in the top of the sixth, the Hitmen went on a six-run spree, including a grand slam for a 10-3 win.

Other teams competing in this year's tournament were the Prospects, Half Cocked, the Haz Benz, Caught Looking, and Balls Deep, the winners of the first men's wood bat Cherry Days tournament.

In the 11-team co-ed division, the Renegades defeated the Red Rocks Hyundai Monsters in extra innings for the championship.

As it was with the men's tournament, the Renegades lost in semifinal round play of the double-elimination tournament to the Monsters, then defeated the Bad Hops to win the consolation bracket.

The Renegades won the championship game in 10 innings, then won the 'if' game in nine innings.

The Sleepers, Anarchy, Who's Lookin the Sonso Pitches, Dirty Gaps and Diamond Joes, and Fire Mountain Properties also competed in the tournament.

This year's tournaments drew some good teams, said organizer Nate Wiggins. "There were some really competitive co-ed teams."

Including a donation by Fire Mountain Properties, the tournament raised just over $3,000 for the Paonia Wrestling Club, which supports wrestlers from peewee levels through high school.

"Turnout was great," said Wiggins, who resurrected the tournament three years ago --- more than 15 years after the last tournament was played back in the early 2000s. "Back then it was a big deal," he said. "Hopefully it'll grow next year."

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