Steamboat Springs The Mountain Magic series of Triple Crown tournaments continues in Steamboat Springs this weekend with the arrival of 58 teams for the Division I baseball World Series qualifier.
Six different divisions will be contested, as the participating teams vie for two World Series automatic berths in each division.
The Triple Crown World Series for Division I begins July 23 in Steamboat Springs.
This weekend's number of teams is the smallest of the summer season, Director Thad Anderson said, because the Division II level is growing in popularity and several Division I teams already have qualified for the World Series.
They have opted to spend their vacation time in Steamboat later this summer.
"The teams playing in Steamboat this weekend, for the most part, are wanting a chance to earn that berth," Anderson said. "There are a lot of teams hoping they'll be back. These teams that have been working to qualify are glad to see some of those top teams aren't there. I do have six to eight teams that are still playing because they want to play and come up to Steamboat."
Triple Crown is holding a baseball tournament in Glenwood Springs this weekend as well, which attracted several teams already guaranteed a spot in the Steamboat World Series in July.
Division I baseball is the highest youth division Triple Crown offers, and even if several of Colorado's top teams aren't in attendance this weekend, there will be plenty of quality baseball played throughout the Yampa Valley beginning Friday.
"Kids will be hitting out of the park this weekend," Anderson said. "The difference between Division I and Division II, what it tends to be, is that the pitching is a little deeper, and, again generally speaking, the depth of the batting order tends to be stronger one through seven or one through nine."
Anderson said he left Steamboat pretty impressed with the level of play he saw in the Division II tournament held last weekend.
One area team -- the Northwest Colorado Lynx 10-and-under team -- placed second in its bracket.
Another area team -- the Moffat County Bulldogs -- are scheduled to take part in this weekend's tournament. The Bulldogs are entered in the JV division, which Anderson created to combine the 15- and 16-and under teams in one bracket because of the lower numbers in each division.
The top two 15- and 16-and-under teams, however, will be given World Series invites.
The Division I tournament opens play at 8 a.m. Friday throughout the valley. All championship games Sunday will be played in Steamboat Springs.
The age divisions for this weekend's tournament are 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-and-under and JV.
The largest division is the 13-and-under, which has 17 teams registered to play. The smallest is the 11-and-under, which only has four participating teams.