Steamboat baseball scheduled for home game Saturday

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— The last time the Steamboat Springs High School baseball team hosted a home game, Colorado Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer was in his 30s.

Current Steam­boat Sp­rings High School physical education and health teacher David May wasn’t shaping minds, he was pitching that day.

Sailors manager Jeff Walton was entering his freshman year of college, and Saturday’s starters Tommy Lyon and Tyler Brown hadn’t reached junior high.

But almost 10 years to the day, the baseball team will host again. The team welcomes Eagle Valley to Emerald Blue on Saturday for a doubleheader.

The first game starts at 11 a.m.

“I guess it surprises me that we haven’t had a home game in that long,” said May, who was a sophomore during the April 29, 2002, game. May helped beat Battle Mountain, 7-4, in the pigtail round of the district tournament. May went the distance, gave up four runs and struck out five. Freshman Tyler Fosdick went 3 for 4 with a home run over the center field fence on Vanatta Field.

“I don’t really remember a whole lot of that about that game,” May said. “I remember the picture in the paper.”

It’s been a long and tenuous road since that 2002 game.

Spring in Steamboat means unpredictable weather and predictably wet fields, which don’t allow for home games. When Steamboat has gotten a home game, it has been played in Craig.

“One time, the weather was looking really good three years ago,” said former Steamboat baseball coach Dave Roy, who never had a home game in his tenure from 2004 to 2010. “We had things planned. We were getting ready to do it. Then we got hit with an incredible downpour of rain, hail, sleet, and it all went to hell.”

It has made practicing in a gym a necessity. Roy used to joke that his team would win the whiffle ball state championship.

Even on the road, things weren’t always easy. The worst trip always seemed to be to Grand Junction or Delta.

Four years ago, the bus hit an elk south of Craig. A year later, on the way to Delta, an eagle hit the driver’s side windshield of the bus, sending a crack all the way across.

“Yes, indeed,” Roy said. “Never a dull moment with the road warriors.”

But for once, Steamboat’s players will get to sleep in a bit, take early batting practice and actually play at home.

“It’s huge,” Walton said.

Even better, the Sailors still are in the race for a playoff spot. The team is 6-7 overall and 2-4 in the Western Slope League. With six league games left, including Saturday’s against second place Eagle Valley, there is an outside chance the Sailors could get back to the playoffs.

“If we can go get two on Saturday,” Walton said. “That changes everything.”

And being able to do it at home would make it all the better.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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