Steamboat Springs hosts baseball district tourneys

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— Steamboat Springs is hosting a pair of Little League district tournaments this weekend.

Emerald Park will feature the 10- and 11-year-old age group as well as the 11- and 12-year-old age group.

Play began Friday and potentially continues through Tuesday.

An 11- and 12-year-old Steamboat team opens tournament play at 10 a.m. today at Emerald Green. The other division doesn't have a team from Steamboat.

The 11- and 12-year-old team has won the district tournament three years in a row. Winners of the district tournament advance to the state tournament.

A Steamboat 9- and 10-year-old team is competing in a district tournament in Summit County.

Other teams expected to play include Summit, Craig, Hayden, Leadville and Grand County.

If the Steamboat team wins today, the team would have a bye until 5:30 p.m. Monday. If the team wins that game, it would advance to the state tournament. If the team does not win that game, it plays Tuesday.

"We want to continue that streak, which would be great with this group," coach Tim Bishop said. "I don't know much about the teams we are playing, but I'm not concerned with that as much as with how we play."

Bishop said eight of the 11 players on the team have played together since they were 8 years old. That includes multiple tournaments across the state this year.

Several players also have played on high-level teams across the state, adding up to more than 75 games since September.

Although Bishop didn't want to look ahead or past the district tournament, he said one of the main goals is to have a much better showing at the state tournament than in the past.

Two years ago, Steamboat had its best showing, winning its opening round game against Boulder before getting bounced.

"It's such a high level of baseball that is played there," Bishop said. "We tried to expose a majority of the kids to a very high and competitive level throughout other parts of the year. We want them to see that and gain confidence that they can play with those kids. Baseball is such a confidence game and such a mental game. They have to believe they can do well."

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