Colorado River Valley Little Leaguers eye state title
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Bob Statler’s seen them grow up before his eyes and, starting Saturday, the manager of Colorado River Valley Little League’s Junior All-Star squad hopes to watch a group of 13-and-14-year-old baseball standouts grow up just a little more.
Playing on the biggest stage they’ve likely ever graced, those 11 youngsters will gun for a state title this weekend.
On their home diamond, no less.
CRV, which draws players from Rifle, New Castle, Parachute, Battlement Mesa, Silt and Meeker, is hosting Little League’s Junior state tourney this weekend and will battle leagues from Platte Canyon, Colorado Springs and Grand County for a chance to advance to regionals in Texas.
Though the league’s only fielded All-Star teams since 2007, Statler’s bunch has been brewing winning baseball for some time.
“Me and some of the coaches involved with this have been with these kids since pre T-ball,” said a reflective Statler, “through T-ball, through coach-pitch, through rec-league baseball, through majors and juniors. A lot of us have hung with them since the very beginning. Heck, we were coaching them when we had girls on the team.”
The CRV stars came of age in a big way at the July 6-14 District 1 tournament in Grand Junction, where they reeled off five straight wins to take home a championship banner.
“They’ve grown up a lot this year,” Statler said. “They’ve stepped up and matured. That’s the biggest difference in this team this year. They’re turning into grown men.”
Extending what’s been a dream season won’t be easy, not with the defending state champ – Colorado Springs – in the mix.
“Obviously, they’re pretty good,” Statler said. “This year, their majors won district, their juniors won district and their seniors won district. We’re expecting them to come in pretty confident.”
But, considering the run the team strung together at districts, CRV should be confident too.
“The kids are ready to go,” Statler said emphatically. “They’re pretty excited. They got on a roll in districts and they’re chomping at the bit to get back out there.”
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