Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs It’s been talked about to no end. Baseball in mountain communities such as Steamboat Springs, Vail and Summit County presents unique challenges. The winters are long, the summers are short, and there are a vast number of other things to do.
But Steamboat is full of athletes around every turn. At some point, some of those athletes will focus on baseball.
It’s really started this summer. Two instances buck the trend in Steamboat. Rising Steamboat Springs High School senior Alan Capistron has built himself into a legitimate Division I baseball prospect.
The Summit Extreme 13-and-younger baseball team, a combined team with Summit and Steamboat, just finished No. 1 in the power rankings in the USSSA baseball league.
It goes to show that baseball does have a place in the mountain town.
Capistron worked all winter in the gym to get to where he is.
He’s got a sub-3 ERA in a competitive Denver league where 30 or so college coaches attend each game.
He’s gone from a tall lengthy player with good skills and molded himself into the best college baseball prospect to come out of Steamboat in a decade.
His fastball sits in the upper 80s, his slider has bite, and he’s working on a split finger fastball.
At times this summer while playing with the Steamboat American Legion team, it’s looked like he has been pitching against children. In four appearances, he has given up one earned run.
His last start, he struck out 15 of the 25 batters he faced.
The Summit Extreme team traveled across the region and played more than 60 games this summer.
The team won multiple tournaments, finished third at state and qualified for a Triple Crown World Series event.
Most of the team is from Steamboat and played on successful Little League teams that always made state but got beat. This year, they started practice in the winter and made sure they wouldn’t lose to teams from Denver or Grand Junction. In the USSSA events, the team went 16-2 against top competition from across the state.
The two examples go to show that baseball has a place.
Even in mountain towns like this.