Local: Steamboat Little League season coming to a close

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— Even after disappointing losses last weekend in Grand Junction, several of the Steamboat Little League teams will get a second chance to take home a championship today.

All three divisions of the league -- Minors, Majors and Juniors -- will compete at Emerald Field. The championship games start at 9 a.m.

Although in recent years the tournament is usually double elimination, this year's tournament has been single elimination tournament because the teams were expected to advance further than they did at the state championships July 22 and 23, which would have left less time for play in the league tournament.

Still, coaches and players sounded excited about the opportunity to finish out the season on a high note.

"Everybody is ready to go, and everybody is excited," said Andy Hogrefe, head coach of the Junior Yankees.

Hogrefe, who had four players make the all-star team, said he doesn't expect any letdown from any of players who took part in the all-star tournament.

"Even though they were on that all-star team, they were calling me when they got back and were ready to go," he said.

The Steamboat Little League tournament takes place later than the all-star tournament because most Steamboat area teams start late. Denver teams start around April 1, but Steamboat teams generally don't get play started until all of the snow melts.

"Our season is always interrupted by all-stars," Hogrefe said. "Our season is definitely shorter than others, but the kids still have fun."

At the conclusion of the tournament today, a barbecue and an awards ceremony will be put on for players, coaches and family members.

"This is just a fun league," league President Trip Harrelson said. "It's just a bunch of volunteer dad and moms coaching. We're going to grill out some food and give away some trophies, and then our season is done."

To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com.

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