Steamboat Springs Steamboat 11- and 12-year-old Little League coach Tim Bishop has wanted his group of all stars to just react to the game of baseball.
He doesn't want them to think what to do, he wants them to already know what to do.
So, after a season of Triple Crown tournaments and more than 15 games, Bishop's players reacted by sending the coach and Steamboat Springs team to the state tournament in Grand Junction for the third consecutive year.
Steamboat won a best-of-three series with Summit in the District Tournament, culminating with a 14-2 drubbing on Saturday at the Emerald Park fields.
Steamboat won by the same score Friday.
"We've played about 20 games with this team," Bishop said. "The idea of all that was for this tournament and for state."
Steamboat was about as dominant as they come in the two-game series.
The pitching trio of Connor O'Brien, Koby Bishop and Matthew Regan gave up nine hits in the two games while striking out 11. In both games, Steamboat didn't commit an error.
"We were just playing," Tim Bishop said. "We knew what to do. We were reacting to the game of baseball."
Leading the way at the plate Friday were Camden Lawhead, Regan and Cutter Pasternak. Lawhead and Regan each had 4 RBIs while Pasternak knocked a single and a double.
In Saturday's game, Spencer Petersen, Pasternak and Bishop each had two hits. Regan tossed a complete game, a four-hitter. He struck out four and walked just two.
"This is the third year in a row we've made state," Tim Bishop said. "We're trying to build a tradition with these kids."
The state tournament takes place July 25 to 27 in Grand Junction. The tournament brings four teams that won their region together for a double-elimination tournament. Last year, Steamboat beat Boulder in its opening game before finishing third in the tournament.
Bishop said he's confident the Steamboat team can go down to Grand Junction and do well with the experience the team has gained the previous two years.
The state tournament "is a random draw," Tim Bishop said. "It's really, really good baseball. There are big pitchers and really, really good hitters. But our goal hasn't been just to get to state, but to do well."
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