The advantage -- if there is one -- to traveling 14 hours from southwest Missouri to Steamboat Springs with a group of 18-year-olds is that they can drive.
Through Kansas and eastern Colorado, the Nevada Athletics baseball team of Nevada, Mo., drove until it hit the mountains and was, to its surprise, slowed down by road construction and mountain passes.
"It took forever to get from Denver to Steamboat," Tad Johnston said.
Welcome to Colorado in the summertime.
And welcome to the second weekend of the Triple Crown Division I World Series in the Yampa Valley.
This weekend features the youngest Triple Crown players in the 10s division, as well as the veterans in the 18s division. The 14-year-old players also are in the tournament field.
Pool play opens today and continues through Friday.
The championships for all three divisions will be decided Sunday in Steamboat Springs.
Several of the Athletics' 11 players already have signed on to play college ball, and their college coaches encouraged them to play competitively through the summer. The rest of the team is still in high school.
This weekend, 73 teams from 12 states will vie for three national championships. Several area teams are in the field, and while the titles may be a longshot for them, that doesn't mean they don't plan to play their best.
The Moffat County Bulldogs are playing in the 18s division and are part of the Athletics' pool.
Play for Steamboat Springs' 14s team opens against Denver's Colorado Blake Street Reds at 8 a.m. today at Vanatta Field. The other teams in Steamboat's pool are the Mountain Brook Spartans from Birmingham, Ala., and the Southeast Texas Sun Devils from Beaumont, Texas.
One area team enters the Triple Crown World Series with plenty of confidence after a summer of improvement and relatively consistent play.
The members of the Northwest Colorado Lynx, coached by Shane Camilletti, are no older than 10 -- and they hate to lose.
"These kids do get caught up in it," Camilletti said. "They expect to win, and I think they'll go out there and lay it on the line. They are a good bunch of kids."
Players on the Lynx are from Meeker, Craig, Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Yampa. Last weekend, at the Division 2 Regional Championship, they took second.
In the team's first summer tournament in Fort Collins, the Lynx didn't fare so well, but they have been in the finals of their last four tournaments, picking up a title in the Colorado State Championships.
At the Division 2 Regional Championship, Lynx players Alan Capistron, Dylan Camilletti, Graig Medvesk and Ben Williams picked up all-American honors. Isiah Forsyth was the Louisville Slugger runner-up MVP.
The Northwest Colorado Lynx move up to Division I play at noon today on the Oak Creek lower field against the Green Mountain Rams from Lakewood. The Lynx play again at 4 p.m. today on the same field against the Riverton Silverwolves from Riverton, Utah. The final team in the Lynx's pool is the Tulsa Lookouts from Tulsa, Okla.
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