Steamboat Springs Every player in the men's division of this weekend's Triple Crown slow-pitch tournament can hit the softball. Playing defense is another story.
But Steamboat Blue and the Pioneer Materials Dawgs of Steamboat Springs are using a combination of both to leave quite an impression on the other 58 teams in the Men's E field.
Last year, the Dawgs fared relatively well, going 5-2 in the tournament held every year about July 4.
This year, the Dawgs have outscored the opposition 59-4 through three games to stay alive in the championship bracket.
"I have a great bunch of guys behind me," pitcher Tony Lucas said. "It allows me to get creative with my pitches."
On Saturday, Greenfeet/Wolfpack, currently second in Triple Crown's state standings, could have used some luck. The team's lone run came in the bottom of the fifth with the outcome all but wrapped up, as the Dawgs won easily 15-1.
Of Pioneer Materials' 20 hits, 18 were singles.
"This team hits well," Bobby Yeager said. "When you start putting up 20 runs on people it's hard."
The Dawgs have taken the tour of Yampa Valley, winning Friday in Steamboat and Hayden, and Saturday at Loudy-Simpson in Craig.
Sunday, the Dawgs return to Steamboat for a 9:10 a.m. game against Atlas in the championship bracket. Pioneer Materials is guaranteed at least two games today because it's still undefeated in the double elimination tournament.
"We enter every tournament to win," Lucas said. "But it's always fun to play with these guys."
Team camaraderie is one reason behind the turn around for Steamboat Blue in this year's Mountain Magic Tournament.
Last year, the team came won once before being eliminated.
Josh Reeves played on last year's team, and hits leadoff on this year's squad.
He said there certainly is more to the team's turnaround than it's newly acquired, coordinating uniforms.
"We've added some guys to the team, and it's changed the morale," Reeves said. "We're all best friends. We look forward to coming out and playing with each other."
The added players have helped Steamboat Blue both offensively and defensively, Reeves said.
There isn't a weak batter in the lineup and no weak defensive players, evidenced by the two double plays Steamboat Blue's defense was able to turn in a 20-5 win over the Parker Storm on Saturday at Loudy-Simpson.
Offensively, Steamboat Blue had 16 hits to just two errors, while the Storm managed three hits and committed six errors.
Many of Parker's were multiple-base errors, but Steamboat's few errors didn't prove as costly.
"When we found ourselves in a little bit of trouble, we were able to get out of it," Reeves said. "We are a great, defensive team."
Steamboat Blue's 13-7 win over All-Pro/Eas II on Saturday night at Loudy-Simpson keeps the team alive in the consolation bracket, as it continues to play back for a hopeful high finish.
Steamboat Blue is 3-1 and plays at 7 a.m. today at Ski Town north.