Glenwood-based softball squad headed to big-time tourney
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – There was a time Team Addiction’s members took the diamond only against each other, crossing paths in area adult slow-pitch softball leagues.Now, the tight-knit bunch is set to embark on its greatest challenge as a tournament team – a trip to the Sept. 18-21 United States Specialty Sports Association Men’s Class D world tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.
Glenwood Springs-based Addiction will be the only Western Slope team, and one of just five Colorado squads, on hand. Its players hail from Glenwood Springs, Rifle, New Castle, Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale and Grand Junction.”It’s big time,” said Glenwood’s Roberto Olivas, the team’s first baseman. “It’s what everyone wants to do in softball – go to nationals.”Team Addiction, which was formed by plucking top talent from local leagues, qualified for the Orlando-area tournament by taking first in a recent qualifier tourney in Aurora. Worlds will be the highest-level tournament the team’s ever tackled.”We’re stoked,” player-manager Jeff Austin said. “We’ve always played pretty well for being a team from the Western Slope. You don’t have the draw of the big cities.”Austin’s impressed with the squad he’s fielding for that very reason. He notes that, in metro areas, teams have a much larger pool of talent to draw from than his team does on the scantily populated Western Slope.And those big-city teams are precisely the ones Addiction goes up against at tournaments.
“Everyone’s always surprised when we say we’re from Glenwood,” Austin said. “It’s nice to be able to compete with them and beat them.”There’s a reason Addiction’s so good. The team makes the most of its summers.Austin estimates that, from March to October, his team fits in around 150 games. That includes play in local rec leagues and an average of two tournaments a month. Most tournaments are on the Front Range, but the team also ventures out of state to places like Las Vegas. They’ve even sought out offseason field time, finding refuge from cold Western Colorado winters with trips to tournaments in Arizona.The more time on the diamond, the better. And Addiction keeps the atmosphere light. “We just have fun,” Olivas said.
They have fun, and they win. With a roster littered with former high school and college baseball players, that latter’s no surprise.”We’re real young and athletic,” said New Castle’s Chad Huck, who played college ball at Trinidad State Junior College. “We all understand the game.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.