Steamboat drops ball in Rangely

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— It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the members of the Steamboat Springs High School baseball team.

The squad was elated to get back on the field for the first time in two weeks, but the players had to be disappointed after suffering three-straight losses in the Rangely Tournament.

"I think we were disappointed because we didn't make it happen," Steamboat player Jordan Gunderson said. "We had our chances, but we just blew it in the fifth inning."

The squad is now 0-5 this season and will be looking to turn things around headed into the league opener April 3 against Moffat County.

"We are going to spend the next week working on actual baseball strategy," Sailors head coach Joss Vinson said. "The fact is that we are going to have to learn to play a different way. We can't keep going out there hoping for our pitchers to keep things close, so that our hitters can pull it out. We have to play smarter and concentrate on the other team's weakness."

Despite keeping things competitive in two out of three of last week's games the Sailors didn't find their opponents soft spots in time to find a way to win.

On Friday, Steamboat fell to Machebeuf High School 13-2.

Evan Wojtowicz had a triple, single and two stolen bases in the game. He also scored the Sailors only runs of the game. Steamboat had just four hits in the contest.

Gunderson started on the mound for the Sailors and despite giving up three runs in the first inning had a solid outing.

He shut the Machebeuf team down in the second and third innings before being pulled from the game with a sore arm.

"I have a strained forearm and it was bothering me a little bit," Gunderson said.

Wojtowicz's offensive power helped the Sailors pull close at 3-1 in the second.

The scored remained the same until the fourth when the Sailors gave up four runs while only picking up one.

Then Machebeuf put the game away with six runs in the fifth and final inning of the game.

Steamboat returned to the field on Saturday to face the eventual tournament winners, Eagle Valley.

The Devils came out quick scoring two runs in the first and second innings.

The Devils added two more runs in the fourth.

Steamboat hung in the game, however, scoring once in the second and then twice in the fourth to make the score 9-3 headed into the fifth. Eagle Valley scored once in the fifth and then exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth to run away with a 20-3 win. Corey Beck took the loss, but Vinson said the transfer student from Arizona pitched well enough to keep the Sailors in the game.

"It's disappointing because we were in it until the end and then just let it get away from us," Vinson said.

The first-year coach felt like the team just lost its focus and never really recovered in the final innings.

The effects of the loss were devastating and could be seen in the final game of the weekend against Rangely.

Steamboat was never in the contest as the Panthers ripped eight runs in the first, three in the fourth and three more in the fifth en route to the 14-1 win.

Gunderson was able to manufacture a run for Steamboat in the fifth after hitting a double. Gunderson stole third base and then was able to go home on a throwing error by the Panthers.

Vinson said the Sailors are playing well in the field right now, but have not been able to provide a consistent offensive threat.

"It's a mental thing," Gunderson said. "We've got a lot of guys on this team who can hit. We just are not getting it done at the plate right now."

The Sailors had just three hits in the final game and just 15 for the weekend.

Vinson said the results were frustrating because Steamboat was within an out of getting out of some big jams last weekend and within a hit of really exploding.

"A hit here or and out there and it's a whole different story," Vinson said. "Right now, we just need to find a way to win some games and build our confidence."

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