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Bats will swing through the weekend

Metal or wood? High school or youth? Those are options available to folks wanting to catch a little baseball this weekend.The best part of both tournaments: all games are free.Starting with this morning’s kickoff game at Rifle’s Cooper Field, local and regional ball teams from 9-18 years old square off for play at diamonds across the valley.Fans of old-school baseball can zoom over to Rifle for a four-day long, high-school age tournament with all teams using wood bats. The second annual tournament is part of Rifle High’s summer baseball program.Play begins with Mesa County neighbors Palisade and Grand Junction Central at 11 a.m. today. Host Rifle faces the Aurora Merchants, a Front Range all-star team, at 7 p.m. Other teams in the field are Delta, Steamboat, Evergreen and Monarch.The first three days of the tournament will be played in a pool-play format with all eight teams split into two pools of four squads each. Each team plays against each other inside their own pool once.Each team’s win-loss standings determines seeding for Sunday’s final games. The championship game pits the No. 1 seeds from each pool against each other. That game is scheduled for 3 p.m.Prior to the championship contest, games featuring the respective No. 3 and No. 2 seeded teams from each pool play at 10 a.m. and noon, respectively.Younger teams jump on board Friday for first-round play of the annual Triple Crown Baseball Tournament, using aluminum bats.Six area squads – three based in Glenwood, two from Carbondale and a group consisting of players from Aspen and Basalt – are part of the 2006 tournament.Both the U13 and U14 tournament begin at 10 a.m. Friday. The U13 division plays at Two Rivers Park and Sopris Elementary School. That tournament, with nine teams signed up, is the largest of the five divisions. The first area game pits two Carbondale teams – the Highlanders vs. the Rockcats at noon Friday at Two Rivers.The championship game is set for 2:15 p.m. Sunday.Six teams, including squads from Salem, Utah, Montrose, Pueblo, Grand Junction and Palisade, convene at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale and Sopris Elementary for first-round games in the U14 tournament. Action gets underway at 10 a.m. at RFHS with the Glenwood Devil Rays taking on Montrose. All playoff games along with Sunday afternoon’s championship game will be played in Carbondale.The U12 tournament starts at noon Friday with a crosstown match between the Glenwood Devil Dogs and the Carbondale Cowboys. All games of the seven-team, pool-play tournament is at Sayre Park in Glenwood. The tournament championship featuring the two surviving teams is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.Opening games of the 9- to 10-year-old and U11 tournaments are Saturday morning.Glenwood’s Three Rivers Angels are the lone area team involved in the four-team, 9-10 division at Vogellar Park in Glenwood. They play the Grand Junction Young Guns at 9 a.m., then return for a second contest that afternoon with the Colorado Nationals from Highlands Ranch. The Tournament semifinal and the division’s championship are Sunday.The U11 tournament, set for North Face Field in Carbondale, does not have a local team in it’s field of five. Teams in that division include the Aurora Rebels, Brighton Bulldogs, Durango Storm, Highlands Ranch Bulldogs and the Rocky Mountain Rampage from Northglenn.


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