Steamboat Springs Palisade clearly has set the bar for Class 4A Western Slope baseball.
The team is coming off a perfect high school season, can play on fields when Steamboat players still are swinging shovels and has athletes.
Boy, do they have athletes.
All the advantages were on display Saturday in a pair of legion games. Palisade swept the doubleheader, picking up a 12-4 win in the first game and an 8-0 win in the second.
Palisade is so deep that the team brought a pair of teams Saturday. The first team was considered junior varsity with the second team varsity.
“Palisade is the benchmark,” said Mike Jeep, filling in for regular manager Dave Roy, who was in Arizona for a wedding. “They have every reason to be.”
The Bulldogs scored two in the first and three in the fifth to take an early lead. Steamboat had its chances but couldn’t ever seem to get a timely hit. Palisade would score seven more in the sixth and seventh innings for the win.
Steamboat’s Billy Clark and Cutter Pasternak each went 2-for-3 in the game with an RBI.
In the second game, Steamboat never could get the bats going.
Palisade went up 2-0 in the first before Steamboat starter Ryan Jeep started to settle. Jeep was fine until the fourth, when after two quick outs, he walked the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters. An error and a triple later, Palisade had a 5-0 lead.
Jeep went 5 1/3, gave up nine hits and seven runs, four of which were earned.
At the plate, Steamboat was limited by Palisade’s Cody Higman.
Higman was dominant and efficient. He gave up just three hits in a complete game effort, striking out seven.
Steamboat got singles from Jesse Pugh and Clark and a double from Cody Hartman. In the game, Steamboat advanced one runner to third base and none past first in the final three innings.
“We’re getting quality at bats; we’re just coming up short,” Mike Jeep said. “We had chances but couldn’t do it. That’s baseball.”
The teams meet again Saturday in Palisade.