Steamboat Springs Despite players’ best efforts, Steamboat Springs’ 9- and 10-year-old Little League baseball team couldn’t overcome an early-tournament loss to Summit County and was eliminated from the state playoffs Monday.
The team lost to Summit on Friday, 7-6, in the first game of the district playoffs but rebounded with a 22-1 victory against Gilpin County on Saturday and a 13-0 victory against Grand County on Sunday.
During those wins, Zach Cooke hit an over-the-fence homer and teammates David LaPointe and Davis Petersen both recorded in-the-park home runs. Steamboat has had solid pitching performances from Sean Patten, David Brown and Everett Simonsen.
The back-to-back wins set up another contest with Summit on Monday afternoon in Frasier and a chance to advance with a win. But Summit came out on top of another close contest to bring the Steamboat team’s season to an end, just short of the state playoffs. Summit won the game, 6-5. Since Summit won Friday’s game, the Steamboat team needed to beat the Summit team twice to advance.
The news was better for two other teams from Steamboat Springs.
11- and 12-year-olds
The Steamboat Springs major league all-star team, of players ages 11 and 12, will advance to the state tournament after posting two straight wins against Summit County last weekend at the district tournament in Frisco.
The Steamboat all-stars won the first game Saturday in six innings, 8-7. But Sunday, Steamboat needed a late-inning rally to earn an invitation to the state tournament. Steamboat trailed, 9-0, before knotting the score late in the game. The contest went to extra innings and it took Andrew McCawley’s two-run, in-the-park home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Steamboat team to victory.
The Steamboat junior all-star Little League team also will advance to the state tournament, after coming out on top of the district tournament last weekend in Breckenridge.
Steamboat had a bye in Friday’s open round, and picked up a 8-7 win against Summit County in its first game Saturday. The victory also guaranteed the Steamboat team a place in Sunday’s championship game. Summit defeated Leadville in the second game Saturday to set up a rematch with Steamboat in the finals.
On Sunday, Summit came out swinging and defeated Steamboat, 14-4, to even its record with Steamboat.
But coach John Regan said his players didn’t let the loss dampen their hopes for a state berth. The two teams stayed close through the first three innings of the second game before the Steamboat offense broke loose. Regan said the rally was set up by a controversial play at the plate where a Summit player ran over Steamboat catcher Danny LaPointe.
“It was a really hard hit at the plate, and Danny didn’t get up too fast,” Regan said. “That was the play that really sparked our team.”
The next inning, the Steamboat offense exploded for eight runs to take a 12-4 lead at the end of the fourth. Steamboat held on down the stretch to win the game, 16-6. The Steamboat team had strong pitching performances from Matt Regan in the first game and Connor O’Brian in the final game. Cutter Pasternak and Tanner Visnick also did a good job of filling in the gaps for the Steamboat team.
Both the major league all-stars and juniors will head to the state tournament July 23. Kat Kelly, president of Steamboat Springs Little League, said the exact time and locations of the games still are being worked out.