Steamboat Springs After playing some 50 games across the state and region this summer, the Summit Extreme 13-and-younger baseball team is on the cusp of its biggest tournament of the year.
The team, made up of players from Summit County and Steamboat Springs, enters the United States Specialty Sports Association Colorado State Championship baseball tournament today.
The tournament continues through Sunday and will be played on fields in Westminster and Arvada.
“Truthfully, we’re seeded third, and in my mind, anything but winning the tournament isn’t a success,” Extreme coach Tim Bishop said. “That’s just how our boys are thinking. We want to call ourselves state champions.”
It won’t be easy.
The 40-team field will be broken down into four team pools.
Pool play will run today through Saturday, with the top 20 teams being bracketed for a single-elimination tournament Sunday.
Summit opens at 5 p.m. today with the Alameda Conquerors. The team then plays at 8 a.m. Saturday against Windsor before finishing pool play with a game against Castle Rock.
The Extreme earned the No. 3 seed after playing in USSSA tournaments through the year. At one point, Summit was ranked No. 1, but because of play in Triple Crown the past month, a competing youth baseball organization, the Extreme lost points and was seeded third.
Regardless, the team has played well all summer, winning multiple tournaments and finishing third most recently in a Triple Crown Mountain Magic tournament June 26.
The biggest concern for Summit — and the rest of the field — will be figuring out the pitching.
Teams that advance to the championship game could play as many as eight games in three days. Pitchers are limited to eight innings the entire tournament.
“It’s just a lot of games,” Bishop said. “We have a five-man pitching rotation now. We’re going to have to have a seven- or eight-man pitching rotation for this. … It’s going to take more than being a good baseball player. It’s going to take a lot of that focus and drive if we make it that far.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org