Craig The Craig and Steamboat Springs American Legion baseball teams are undergoing a youth movement this summer. The growing pains and inconsistencies for both teams were prevalent in the two games they played in the span of seven days.
On Tuesday night, the Sailors jumped out to a 2-0 lead and answered every comeback effort the Bulldogs brought for a 9-7 win. That came after Craig won the first meeting, 9-0.
"Tonight, we had an even younger team than we'd had before, and I didn't know that was possible," Bulldog coach Rich Sadvar said. "But they didn't play to their level."
The Sailors rallied late in the game, when Cody Harris hit a two-run double and an RBI double in back-to-back innings after striking out his first two at bats. Elliot Girard made up for a fielding error in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run homer in the sixth. Those five runs gave the Sailors a 9-5 advantage going into the bottom of the seventh.
"It's great to see guys come back from a mistake or adversity," Steamboat coach Dave Roy said.
Craig's Josh Satterwhite brought his team back with a two-run home run, his second in the game, in the bottom of the seventh. The Bulldogs had the tying run at bat with one out, but the Sailors' Ryan Tibbetts finished his complete-game effort by earning a strikeout and a pop out.
"The last game, we gave up too many home runs with runners on base," Roy said. "This game, we limited those, and it kept us in it."
The Sailors' nine runs came against Satterwhite, who shut them out June 6.
The Bulldogs started three players who will be freshmen next year. They had three players on the team who have had varsity experience.
Sadvar wasn't about to make excuses.
"Young or not, we didn't play the way we're capable," Sadvar said. "I don't think the better team won tonight."
The Bulldogs had a lengthy talk after the game, and as Sadvar left the field, the team went back on the field.
"I'm not staying, but I told them I'd leave the lights on for them," he said. "I'm interested to see their dedication."
The Sailors left the game with a different attitude.
"We don't get much of a chance to be outside in the spring, so this is our time to learn," Roy said. "We're out here to have fun, and I think the guys did that tonight."