Steamboat's JV baseball swings for the future

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— The Steamboat Springs High School junior varsity baseball team’s season came to an end Saturday in Craig with a pair of wins against Eagle Valley.

“It was a great way to end the season,” coach Kellen Baker said. “We wanted to develop a winning attitude in Steamboat Springs, and I think we made a step in the right direction with these wins.”

Baker said the team finished its season with a 4-3 record and played a pretty full season despite the wet spring weather. The coach said he was optimistic about carrying some newfound momentum into the summer season, and he hopes to develop some of the team’s younger players for next season.

The Sailors had only 18 players this season total on the varsity and junior varsity teams. Baker said the junior varsity season was valuable because it helps develop players and also allows a few of the less experienced varsity players to get a few extra innings.

The team swept past Eagle Valley in a doubleheader Sat­urday — the final two games of the 2010 season. Baker said the first game of that set could have been the most exciting baseball of the season for the junior varsity program. The Sailors escaped with an 11-10 win, after a seesaw battle with Eagle Valley that stretched eight innings — and three innings past the time limit for the game.

Steamboat held a slight lead for most of the contest, played in Craig. Steamboat led 3-2 after the first inning and 5-4 after four. But in the top of the fifth inning, Eagle Valley tied the game with a run, and Steamboat failed to score. The game went into extra innings.

Both teams scored in the sixth, and the game remained tied in the seventh. But in the top of the eighth inning, Eagle Valley went up 10-9 to set up the thrilling conclusion.

In the bottom of the eighth, Kevin Finch hit a double and drove in a run to tie the game. Then Carson Becker laid down the bunt in an effort to put Finch in a scoring position, but an errant throw by the Eagle Valley infielder allowed the Steamboat runner to score the winning run.

The two teams returned to the field for the second half of the doubleheader. Baker said the momentum from the first-game win, and solid pitching from Tyler Brown, gave Steamboat an edge. The Sailors cruised to a 17-3 win in the contest and wrapped up the season with another win.

“We had a ton of momentum after winning the first game,” Baker said. “That really helped.”

The coach said 70 percent of Brown’s pitches in the game were strikes, and the Steamboat bats generated plenty of offense at the plate. Steamboat scored 3 runs in the first, 4 in the third and 10 in the final three innings of the game. Steamboat’s defense gave up three runs in the third, but that was it as Brown pitched all seven innings en route to the victory.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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