Steamboat Springs Scott Bjorgum pointed his baseball bat toward the deep outfield at the Strawberry Park softball field Monday and looked toward the crowd.
“This one’s for you, Logan,” he said, pointing to his 15-month-old nephew sitting in the bleachers.
After a metallic ping, the weathered softball sailed toward right field, and Bjorgum arrived at first base well before he could be tagged. The Steamboat Pirate’s softball practice had just begun.
“The team has really improved,” said Bjorgum’s mother, Leslie. “They’re hitting better, and they’re running better. It’s a pleasure to see these athletes gain these skills.”
The Pirates Special Olympics softball team, which is made up of players from Routt and Moffat counties, has spent the past eight weeks rigorously training for the Mile High Classic Special Olympics softball tournament. The Pirates will travel to Lakewood on Saturday to square off against four other teams in three adult divisions, which will feature 20 teams.
“I know they will enjoy themselves,” assistant coach Greg Bjorgum said. He said the team has been training a new pitcher after their previous one had to leave because of a job conflict.
“We may have some forced walks, and that’s going to muddy up their competitive stance,” he said. “I’m just encouraging them to play their best and have a good time out there. The outcome is what the outcome is.”
Team member Jesse Rudnick, who spent Monday’s practice perfecting his pitching, didn’t seem too concerned about winning or losing at the tournament.
“I had a lot of fun out there,” he said. “I love playing softball.”