Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs American Legion baseball team finished second at the district tournament in Grand Junction during the weekend and enters the state tournament this week as the No. 4 seed.
After the team won its district tournament opener Friday, Steamboat split a pair of games Saturday, falling, 15-1, to Palisade before beating Eagle Valley, 5-4, in extra innings.
In the game against Eagle Valley, Steamboat got a complete-game effort from Matt Regan. Regan threw eight innings, giving up three earned runs and five hits while striking out 11.
After Eagle Valley went up, 3-0, in the second inning, Steamboat cut it to 3-2 thanks to a Jesse Pugh double and a wild pitch.
Regan tied it in the sixth with a solo home run before Eagle Valley took a 4-3 lead in the seventh.
Steamboat tied it in the bottom half after Billy Clark doubled, Michael Yost sacrificed him to third and Johnny Stensvad drove in Clark with a single.
After a scoreless top of the eighth inning, Steamboat loaded the bases with walks to Connor Jennings, Cody Hartman and an intentional pass to Clark. Yost came through with a game-winning single up the middle.
“Michael really delivered,” Steamboat manager Dave Roy said.
In the championship game, again against Palisade No. 1, Steamboat fell behind, 7-0, after three innings.
The team cut it to 7-4 in the fourth thanks to singles by Cutter Pasternak, Regan and Ryan Jeep and doubles by Jennings and Yost.
But in the fifth inning, Steamboat gave up six unearned runs to fall behind, 13-4. Steamboat pushed across a pair of runs in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.
“It was sad to see the errors,” Roy said. “We were head to head with them and had every chance to put them away. Those runs in the fifth killed us.”
Steamboat opens the eight-team state tournament at noon Thursday in Breckenridge against Fort Morgan.
Steamboat was the No. 7 seed last year.
“With that, I think we have a good chance to be successful,” Roy said.
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com