Steamboat Springs After pitching the final out in the second inning, Julie Piper breathed a sigh of relief on her way to the dugout.
"I'm just glad that I have a good team backing me to help me out," said Piper, who plays for the Colorado Storm softball team.
The Storm, a girls fast-pitch team from Longmont, played the Broomfield Eagles at Howelsen Park Saturday during a tournament organized by Triple Crown Sports.
The Eagles had the bases loaded while down 3-1 but gave up two straight outs to an aggressive group of infielders.
Storm coach Jerry Sutton liked his team's chances of winning the girls 14-and-under championship.
A win against the Eagles would have vaulted them into Saturday night's championship.
Dick Hewett, director of the softball tourney, said the Storm was a favorite to win the title.
About 40 youth baseball and 50 girls softball teams have been competing in a Triple Crown tourney this weekend in Craig, Hayden and Steamboat.
It is the first of two Triple Crown tourneys to take place over the next week in Steamboat.
On Friday, another tourney will start, said Sean Hardy, Triple Crown baseball director.
More than 100 youth baseball teams will travel to the area next week, Hardy said.
One of the teams competing next week will be a 12-year-old Steamboat team coached by Jerry Stanford.
Two other Steamboat teams were scheduled to play in the tourney but canceled last week, Hardy said.
Those playing on Stanford's team include Brian Aragon, Matt Beilhartz, Ramsay Bernard, Jeff Dawes, Nick Devos, Greg Ingalls, Matt Lamb, Dylan Roberts, Jesse Speare-Schaller, Jake Stanford and Tanner Stillwell.
Hardy said Steamboat was one of the biggest draws in the Triple Crown baseball series because of its scenic location.
Devon Strain, a catcher for the Storm, said Steamboat is one of her favorite places to play.
"I think it's a really beautiful area," Strain said. "It's not as hot as it is back home. And there are no rocks on the field."