Ruling hurts team

Steamboat squad forced out of tournament

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Steamboat Springs' 12-and-under baseball team won the game but lost the battle.

On Tuesday morning, after defeating Summit County, 8-5, at Emerald Park, it appeared the Steamboat team had earned another shot at undefeated Grand County in the District 3 Little League Tournament.

But after the game, Summit County -- with some advice from the Grand County coaching staff who was there watching the game --uestioned whether Steamboat pitcher Carson Becker was eligible to pitch in Tuesday morning's game because he had pitched one inning against the Rocky Mountain All-Stars and another inning against Skyline on Monday.

Steamboat coach Mike McCannon had read another rule that stated that if the pitcher had pitched only a single inning, he was eligible to continue.

McCannon said he discussed the rule with the tournament director and the Summit coaching staff before the game and thought that everybody agreed that Steamboat complied with the rules.

"It's a little confusing because there are two rules in the book that conflict with each other," McCannon said. "How it's interpreted depends on which rule you are reading. We were not out to bend the rules, and we could have started another pitcher."

But Little League officials in the regional office agreed with Summit County, stating that because Becker pitched one inning in both of Steamboat's games Monday, he was not eligible to pitch again until Wednesday.

The decision sent Summit County to the championship game of the double elimination tournament to face undefeated Grand County. Summit would have needed to beat the Kremmling team twice to earn the title.

Although he was disappointed, McCannon said he understands the decision. Steamboat appealed the decision and was willing to replay the game.

The official decision negated a well-played baseball game Tuesday morning.

Becker struck out five Summit County batters in five innings of work.

Had Becker not started the game, Steamboat ace Ben Williams, who lives in Hayden, would have started.

He ended up closing the game by striking out two of the three Summit County batters he faced.

For the third straight game, Steamboat's strength was at the plate.

Despite a strong pitching performance by Summit's Taylor Gillis, who went the distance, throwing 83 pitches and striking out 11 batters, Steamboat was able to score eight runs.

Gillis could not cool red-hot Connor Landusky, who was 2-for-3 at the plate with an over-the-fence homerun and a triple.

Summit scored two runs in the first inning after four Steamboat errors. But the local team answered in the bottom half of the inning.

Hits by Hondo Anderson, Alex Estes and Becker allowed Steamboat to score two runs and tie the game.

Landusky helped his team take the lead in the second, when his two-out triple put the go-ahead run on third.

A Williams single brought Landusky home and gave Steamboat a lead it would never surrender -- at least not on the field. Williams also scored in the inning after Anderson singled to left to move him to second. Williams also took advantage of two passed balls to move to third and score.

Summit scored in the top of the third to come within 4-3, but Steamboat added another run in the third before scoring three more in the fourth. Summit rallied in the fifth with two runs but wouldn't get closer. Steamboat brought Williams in during the sixth inning to secure the win.

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