When Wayne DeLuca started playing baseball in Hayden, the gear was purchased at yard sales, and the numbers on the shirts were written in magic marker.
Now a coach, DeLuca said the game has reached a different level in the Northwest Colorado town.
"Ultimately, our goal is to get high school baseball into Hayden," DeLuca said. "Now, we are playing in a 16-and-under division, but we anticipate going into the junior legion league next year for 17-and-under. We've been very pleased, not only with the number of kids playing, but the quality of their play has developed."
During the weekend, Hayden defeated Meeker, 11-2, and 6-2, in a doubleheader at Hayden Valley Elementary School.
"Meeker always has a good program, so that was a good measuring stick for us," DeLuca said.
The two wins gave Hayden a season split with Meeker. Hayden plays Moffat County at 7 p.m. Friday at Craig Middle School and finishes the season with a home game against Soroco, but a time has not been set yet for the season finale.
Hayden's boys will take advantage of the close games. Next year, Hayden's team will do more traveling to Denver and Grand Junction tournaments if it joins the junior legion program.
"We have high hopes for the future," DeLuca said.
Hayden's Aaron Haskins pitched three innings in the first game and four in the second before Jake Magee came on in relief in each game against Meeker.
"Both performed very well," DeLuca said.
Hayden helped its pitchers with stellar play behind the mound, including twice getting Meeker's lead runner out at home.
"Defensively, we didn't have a weak spot," DeLuca said. "It was definitely our best defensive performances of the season."