All-star squads head to state

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— The road to Little League glory went through the Emerald Park baseball fields for the best youth players in Northwest Colorado. A trip to the four-team state championship tournament was on the line for three Steamboat Springs teams participating in the District 3 Championship tournament that concluded Tuesday evening.

All three teams, which represented Steamboat in all three divisions (U-12, U-11 and U-10), advanced to their respective championship games. However, Steamboat couldn't go 3-for-3, as Doug Bradfield's U-12 boys lost, 10-3, to Moffat County on Tuesday. But the other two teams did capture district titles.

"Complete domination" was the most accurate way coach Stace Toye described his U-11 team's performance. The squad batted better than .500 for the tournament and outscored its opponents, 52-3.

Toye said the 11-year-olds rode a wave of skilled pitching, including a nine-strikeout performance from Cutter Pasternak in the team's 17-1 win against Summit and an impressive one-hitter, near-perfect game from Matthew Regan in its 19-0 championship shutout against Grand County on Monday.

The Steamboat U-10 squad also went 3-0 for the district championship sweep, beating Summit County, 11-1, in Monday's championship game. Danny LaPointe pitched three shutout innings before handing the ball to Koby Bishop, who wrapped it up for Steamboat in the fourth. The game was called after four inn-ings because of the 10-run rule.

Bishop, LaPointe and Jesse Pugh each had two hits in the game, and Matthew White scored the 11th run that ended the game.

The state tournament is July 21 to 23 in Denver for both district champions.

"It's a real pressure cooker - there's only four teams left," said U-10 coach Tim Bishop, who was confident in his team's ability since their trip to the double-elimination tournament last July.

With many players and parents from the two state-bound, all-star squads cheering on his team, Bradfield was pleased to see his team complete five games in five days, including a 10-4 win against Grand County to advance to the championship.

"Everybody contributed, and everyone had fun," Bradfield said, giving credit to the volunteer organizational staff headed by Terin Petersen.

- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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