A drive through Howelsen Hill's parking lot Saturday could leave people second-guessing where they were.
Without the ski lift or ski runs in the background, it would be easy to mistake the cement lot in Steamboat Springs for a parking lot at tourist hot spots such as Disney World, the Grand Canyon or Mount Rushmore.
Texas. Utah. Kansas. Miss--ouri. California. Florida. Wash--ington. Wyoming. Oh, yeah, and Colorado. All different styles of license plates were on display near the ball fields at Howelsen Hill.
Saturday was the fourth of five days in the first session of the Triple Crown World Series based in Steamboat.
Many players such as Pete Galeotos, Scotty Cloudy and Tanner Crowe, all 10, from the Cheyenne Raptors, had never played in the World Series. Other players, such as Andy Abrams of the 15-and-under Moreno Valley Dodgers, are making repeat trips to Steamboat.
"But we're doing better this year," Abrams said.
On Saturday, the Dodgers defeated the Lebanon Cardinals, 9-8, in the bottom of the seventh to advance further in the consolation bracket. Moreno Valley, Calif., is near Los Angeles. Lebanon, Mo., home of the Cardinals, is several hours from St. Louis.
"They got up early, I think by 6," Abrams said. "We didn't start hitting until the fourth."
For the Dodgers, summer is the time to take extended trips to baseball tournaments. The club team has traveled to events in Cooperstown, N.Y., Las Vegas and Arizona. Abrams said the club is eyeing a trip to Hawaii next year.
"Our parents enjoy it, too, because they get to come along," he said.
But this year, the opportunity to play in the World Series will be the highlight of the summer.
Temperatures cooled off Saturday, relieving the teams and the fans who spent the previous three days moving lawn chairs and angling umbrellas to dodge the sun.
Most teams drove to Steam--boat for the tournament. It took the Dodgers two to three days to get here, depending on the number of stops, Abrams said. Between baseball games, the boys have "gone to the movies, walked the town, tubed the river and played whiffleball at the condo."
The water has been a popular spot for many players this weekend. The Cheyenne Raptors players swam at the condo and went tubing at Steamboat Lake.
"One kid on our team has a boat and an RV," Galeotos said. "We went tubing out there."
The team hasn't had as much success in the World Series as it had hoped. The Raptors were 0-3 through the first three days, but they had to have played well to even get to Steamboat.
Teams needed to qualify in earlier tournaments to register for the Triple Crown World Series. On Saturday, several teams took important steps toward possibly winning a tournament title.
Today's championship game in the Division 1 10-and-under division is at 11:30 a.m. The championship game in the Division 1 13-and-under division is at 2 p.m. Both games are on Vanatta Field, which is nearest to Howelsen Lodge.
Metro Sports will be filming both games for TV distribution. Spectators are encouraged to come out free of charge. Triple Crown will be giving away a variety of prizes.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org