The Steamboat Springs American Legion baseball team stumbled Sunday in the championship game of a weekend tournament in Green River, Wyo., but not before the squad pieced together a lot of solid baseball that paved the way to the finals.
Steamboat fell, 9-2, to Rangely in the last game, but it won four games to get there, earning a second-place finish in the tournament.
“We were short a couple of pitchers who couldn’t make the trip, but we really played well,” coach Dave Roy said. “We economized and got a lot from everyone. The players really gave it everything they had. We played well defensively and made the most of the guys we had there to pitch. I was very pleased with the effort that was given by everyone on the team.”
Steamboat picked its way through a series of Colorado and Wyoming opponents to set up the game against Rangely.
Jesse Pugh and Johnny Stensvad, a Middle Park athlete playing for Steamboat, pitched in the weekend’s opener, against Summit. Cutter Pasternak had three hits and an RBI in the 6-5 win, breaking the tie game when Summit’s pitcher issued four walks to send the deciding run home.
Pasternak threw five innings of one-hit ball and Channing Conner took it the rest of the way as Steamboat beat Lovell, Wyo., 9-0, getting two hits each from Pasternak, Stensvad, Thomas Kelly and Billy Clark.
Steamboat then beat Rawlings, 10-8, as Clark had three hits and Pugh, Stensvad and Matthew Hansen each had two.
Finally, Steamboat scored three times in the first inning on walks and wild pitches against the host team, Green River. Steamboat got two RBI singles from Pugh later in the game. He also pitched, giving up three runs on four hits and setting up the 5-3 victory.
“He pitched a great game all the way around, a real gem,” Roy said.
The long weekend of baseball caught up with Steamboat in the final game. Rangely put three up in the first and kept the pressure on. David Cropper scored on a wild pitch for Steamboat, but it wasn’t enough as the squad fell, 5-1.
“We missed some great opportunities in both the third and the fourth innings,” Roy said. “We couldn’t get the key hits to score any runs.”
The team is back in action this weekend as it plays doubleheaders both Saturday and Sunday in Steamboat Springs. Saturday’s games begin at noon and Sunday’s at 1 p.m., all at Emerald Blue.