For the fun of the game
No steroids.No scandals.No million-dollar paychecks.This weekend, baseball centered around what it is meant to be – fun.
More than 30 teams, including six local squads, filled the diamonds of the valley this weekend for the Glenwood/Carbondale Triple Crown Tournament. Ranging from 9-14 years old, hundreds of baseball players came from all over Colorado and Utah for the annual event, and even though none of the local teams were able to win a championship, they didn’t come out empty-handed. “They came out there and played a lot of baseball. That’s the whole point is to play and learn. It was lots of fun. They had fun, and I had fun, and that’s all you can ask for,” said Glenwood Devil Dogs head coach Bryan Derby. “We’ve gone to Junction and Delta to play, and it’s fun to stay here, and the kids get to see new teams and make different friends.” The 12 and under Devil Dogs dropped two games during Friday and Saturday’s play before taking the field against the Colorado Hurricane in the semifinals on Sunday. The Devil Dogs forced the game into extra innings, but then fell 11-10 for a third-place finish.
“We had one bad inning,” Derby said. “The whole team stepped up, and it took a real team effort to take third place.”The Carbondale Cowboys, fellow competitors in the U-12 division, beat the Devil Dogs 10-9 on Friday and then lost their final two games in the tournament.The U-13 Three Rivers Rockcats, a team made up of players from Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale, posted a 1-3 record in the three-day tournament. After traveling to tournaments in Grand Junction, Delta and Steamboat, Howard Blounts, a coach for the team, said it was nice to be at home.”It was great to stay here,” he said. “Everybody loved it.”
The Rockcats slid through the first round of the playoffs by beating the Delta Diesels 7-5. They were then eliminated by the Arvada Wildcats, who went on to win the tournament, in the second round. For the Rockcats, facing some of the top teams in the state who have played three times as many games this season was quite a learning experience.”We had a lot of fun and learned a lot from them,” Blounts said of the No. 1-ranked team that beat his No. 8 team. “Everyone played well and has every reason to be proud of themselves.”The Carbondale Highlanders, the other local team competing in the U-13 division, beat the Rockcats 8-3 in a local showdown on Friday before losing their next two games. In the U-14 division, strong pool play landed the Glenwood Springs Devil Rays a No. 5 seed heading into Sunday’s playoffs. But in the quarterfinals, the Bombers of Colorado Springs proved to be stronger than Glenwood and knocked them out of the tournament. The Three Rivers Angels, the lone valley team in the 9-10 division, also played well in the tournament before being eliminated by the Grand Junction Young Guns in the first round of the playoffs.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.