Game experience, regardless of age, makes all the difference in baseball.
This year, Gary Engle put together an 11-year-old tournament team for Steamboat Springs to help young players get more time on the field.
"I think we are competitive against the field this weekend," Engle said. "They are way better than when we started."
On Saturday, Steamboat lost 14-10 to a Denver All-Star team in Triple Crown's Mountain Magic Division 3 tournament.
Division 3 was created this year to allow teams with minimal tournament experience the chance to compete in a more competitive format, which works well for many Northwest Colorado teams that struggle to get on fields before late April or early May.
In Saturday's game, Steamboat jumped to a 2-0 lead on the top half of the first inning, but the All-Stars scored five in the bottom of the first to take the lead for good.
Steamboat closed to within 9-7 but couldn't even the score.
Walks and errors played an integral role in the Sailors' loss. Steamboat committed 10 errors on routine throws or plays. After the game, Engle complimented the 11-year-olds on their effort but also told them they gave the game to Denver.
Pitcher and shortstop Charlie Von Thaden agreed.
"Compared to practice, we were sloppy," he said.
Charlie joined the team this week to provide an extra arm and a boost to the batting lineup.
He pitched three strong innings, walking two and striking out two and was 2-for-4 out of the leadoff spot.
After the game, Charlie said Steamboat would play better in the future.
"If you have a bad game and aren't making the routine plays and listening to what Coach says, you will do it right the next time."
Tommy Lyon was 3-for-4 with one RBI for Steamboat. Teammate Zac Engle was 1-for-4 with three RBIs. Eric Spahr drove in two runs.
Steamboat continues pool play at 10 a.m. today at the Ski Town fields against the Colorado Cutthroats, a team made up of Craig and Hayden players.