Northwest Colorado coach Shane Camilletti wasn't sure his 10-year-old's were ready to play several of the country's premier baseball teams, so he decided not to use the Triple Crown World Series berth the Lynx earned by finishing second at an earlier Division I tournament.
Things changed several weeks ago, however, when the Northwest Colorado team added several Routt County players to the roster. With the berth they earned gone, the Lynx opted to use the one they were given by Triple Crown.
Traditionally, Triple Crown extends area teams an invitation to join the World Series festivities as a sign of gratitude for allowing the Fort Collins-based organization weekend use of Yampa Valley fields.
Traditionally, several Steamboat and Craig teams accept the bids, with the expectation the experience will be worth the lopsided losses.
Not the Lynx. They had other plans.
"I thought we'd do pretty well," Dylon Camilletti of Craig said. "We'd been playing well all summer."
From late May until early August, a group of 10-year-old boys proved that playing baseball isn't a lost cause in Northwest Colorado, going 2-2 in the World Series, defeating teams from Utah and Oklahoma in the process, to advance into Saturday's championship bracket.
The Lynx's bid for a title, however, ended Saturday with a 7-3 loss to the Utah Mudcats of South Jordan, Utah, at Ski Town North.
Losing stinks, especially at 10.
"They played really well," Steamboat's Alan Capistron said of the Mudcats. "I think we could have played better."
Shane Camilletti said the Lynx definitely could have played better, but that wasn't the most important lesson taken from Saturday -- or from the rest of the summer.
Many times, he said, it's easy to get caught up in the moment, but instead he steps back and remembers his players -- and his son -- aren't even in junior high. The Lynx pitchers don't throw curveballs. Until several weeks ago, the Northwest Colorado players hadn't even seen a curveball.
For the Lynx, playing high-level tournaments was about winning, but it was also about improving as a team -- players and coaches alike.
Capistron didn't have high baseball expectations heading into this summer.
"I didn't even know I was going to play two tournaments," he said.
Now, he's in rare company: a Routt County baseball player that helped his team win two games at the Division I level.
And it's a distinction shared by 15 others from Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.
"This summer was a lot of fun," Ben Williams of Hayden said.
The Division I Triple Crown World Series continues today in Steamboat with the conclusion of the championship rounds in the 10s, 14s and 18s divisions.