It's still early in the season, but the Denver East baseball team gave its Steamboat Springs counterpart a goal to work toward Saturday.
"They have an excellent team," Sailors coach Dave Roy said. "They are undefeated, and I think they are one of the top 5A schools in the state. They have good pitching, they can hit the ball, and they are well-coached."
Those are traits Roy hopes the Sailors will pick up during the season. The coach knows it's possible, but after getting beat by Denver East, 15-3, and, 12-0, it's clear Steamboat still has work to do.
"Our team is still hibernating," Roy said. "But if our guys can avoid getting down, I think we will continue to improve and will be competitive in the Western Slope League this season."
But to be competitive, the Sailors will need to reduce the number of mistakes they made on the field during the three-game road trip, and they must find a way to take advantage of opportunities.
In Friday's game against Hinkley, Sailor mistakes proved to be the difference in what should have been a close game.
Two Steamboat errors gave Hinkley the spark it needed to break the game open with seven runs in the second inning. Hinkley rolled to a 13-3 victory. Steamboat had led the game, 2-0.
Steamboat also struggled in the fifth, when two errors allowed the home team to score five times and put the game away.
A run in top of the fifth inning made the score 8-3, but another mistake-plagued inning allowed Hinkley to plate five more runs to take a 13-3 advantage.
"We had a couple of bad innings," Roy said. "It's unfortunate because I think this is a game that we could have won."
Steamboat's Elliot Girard was two-for-three with two RBIs. Jack Serhant added a triple.
The Sailors road woes continued Saturday during a doubleheader against Denver East. Once again, mistakes in the field hurt the Sailors, but missed opportunities turned out to the difference in the first game.
"We had a great opportunity to score in the first inning, but we couldn't capitalize," Roy said.
While Steamboat struggled to get runs home, Denver East looked like a team preparing to make a run at a state title. The Angels scored seven runs in the second inning, added one in the third and six more in the fourth, which turned out to be the team's final at bat.
Girard again led the Sailors at the plate. He was one-for-one with two walks. Serhant and John Donham also had hits in the game,
The same two teams returned to the field in the afternoon, but this time, Denver East junior Christopher Hayden made sure that the Sailors' opportunities were limited.
Hayden threw a no-hitter, shutting down the Sailors for five innings and helping his team collect a 12-0 victory. Denver East scored one run in the first, four in the second and seven in the fourth. Serhant was the only Sailor to reach base.
The Sailors, 0-3-1 this season, will look to turn things around this weekend during a doubleheader against Battle Mountain. The Sailors beat the Huskies twice last season and will look to do the same this weekend.
Roy was uncertain about field conditions, but he hopes the warmer weather predicted for later this week will allow the game to be played.