Wooden bats usually are reserved for major leaguers, but a tournament in Grand Junction last weekend gave the young members of the Northwest Colorado Lynx the opportunity to pull out smaller versions of the wooden bats.
"They thought it was pretty cool," Lynx coach Shane Camilletti said. "We just picked them up when we got down there."
The Lynx went on to finish second in the Division 1 tournament put on by Triple Crown, meaning Northwest Colorado has qualified for the Division 2 and Division 1 World Series to be held in Steamboat Springs later this summer.
The Lynx's impressive results in two-straight Triple Crown tournaments at different levels has Camilletti figuring out where Northwest Colorado fits in. The team will be allowed to compete in Division 2 and Division 1 tournaments this summer, which is a unique situation in Colorado.
"The goal is to win the Division 2 World Series this year," Camilletti said. The Lynx will continue to play at the Division 2 level and will have their first opportunity of the year to play at home next weekend during the Mountain Magic Tournament in Craig and Steamboat.
The 11-year-old players on the Lynx are from Steamboat, Hayden, Craig and Meeker. Many of their opponents are select teams from metropolitan areas.
In Grand Junction, Northwest Colorado defeated Farmington, N.M., 12-7 and 7-6, and beat the Brighton Bullets, 8-7 and 7-5. Both games went into extra innings.
The Colorado Vipers, based in Aurora, defeated the Lynx, 7-6, in the championship game. Last year, the Vipers won the state title at Division 1.
"They scored in the last inning to go ahead by one," Camilletti said of the final. "We had runners on second and third when we got the last out. The kids made outstanding plays on both sides of the ball. We were one break here and there from winning."
The wooden bats put an emphasis on pitching and defense, and the better competition made for closer games, but in Division 2 the Northwest Colorado team is one of the best in Colorado.
From June 18 through 20, the Northwest Colorado team will have the opportunity to compete in front of hometown fans not accustomed to seeing local teams succeed in Triple Crown tournaments.
"I think it's good for baseball," Camilletti said of the Lynx's success. "The interest level gets up there, and I'm not just talking about our kids. When others see we can have success at this level, there is some inspiration that maybe they can, too."
Team members are Alan Capistron, Isiah Forsyth, and Charles Wood from Steamboat; Ben Fulton, Graig Medvesk and Ben Williams from Hayden; Dylon Camilletti, Brentton Ivers, Louie Neil and Kulen Turner from Craig and Trevor Matrisciano from Meeker.
While schedules may change before next weekend, the Lynx are slated to open the Mountain Magic Tournament at 9 a.m. June 18 at Loudy Simpson in Craig. The Lynx will play at 10 a.m. June 19 in Steamboat at the Ski Town fields.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org