Steamboat Springs New high school baseball coach Sean Hicks headed to Rangely last weekend with high hopes.
He returned to Steamboat this week with the realization that his baseball team still has a lot of work to do if it is going to be competitive this spring.
"It would be one thing if we didn't have so much talent," Hicks said. "But we had as much, if not more, talent than the teams we were playing, so that makes it very disappointing."
The Sailors dropped all three games last weekend at the Rangely tournament. The showing was a far cry from Hicks' hopes of grabbing two out of three on the road in the first weekend of the 2002 season.
"We talked about what went wrong and what we can do to improve things," Steamboat senior Joe Liefer said. "As a team we are trying to get away from using not getting to play on a field as an excuse. We just need to show some more confidence on the field."
Despite a solid pitching performance by David May in the first game, the Sailors fell to Eagle Valley in the opener 14-5.
"They have 10 seniors and are a very solid ball club," Hicks said of Eagle Valley.
The coach was happy with the way his team played in the early part of the game, but he said the team slumped in the final few innings after May was struck by a line drive and had to leave the game with a bruised elbow. He will be questionable for this weekend's game against Glenwood.
"I knew we were going to make some physical errors in this game just because it was our first, but I wanted the players to limit their mental errors," Hicks said. "For the most part, we were able to do that."
Most of Hicks' frustration this week came from a heartbreaking 6-4 loss to Machebeuf in the second round of the tournament.
Steamboat held a 4-0 lead through the fourth inning, thanks in part to strong pitching from freshman Tyler Fosdick. But the Sailors faltered in the final innings of the contest and let the lead slip away.
"It's always disappointing when you have a good lead and then lose it," Liefer said. "But that's the game of baseball it's never over until the final out is called."
Fosdick completed four innings before he started to show signs of fatigue. Hicks made the choice to go to the bullpen in the fifth, but Machebeuf was able to rally against Steamboat's relief pitching in the final two innings to steal the win.
The disappointment of losing that game seemed to carry over to the final contest of the weekend. This time the Sailors jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but ended up losing the lead before the first inning came to an end.
"After that, we were pretty much through," Hicks said. "We didn't do anything the rest of the game."
Rangely scored eight of the team's 10 first inning runs with two outs. Steamboat gave up seven more runs in the game and lost 17-7
"We've got a lot of talented players on this team and this just isn't acceptable," Hicks said of the 0-3 start. "Now we have to find ways to turn things around."
Steamboat was scheduled to play a game in Grand Valley Monday, but it was cancelled because of snow.
The team will resume action this weekend against Glenwood Springs. The doubleheader will either be played in Craig or Glenwood on Saturday. Hicks said a decision would be made by Wednesday afternoon.
"I always look forward to playing Glenwood," Liefer said. "We've got a good relationship with Glenwood and everybody gives it 100 percent."