Steamboat Springs Legion baseball team overcomes slow start, saves weekend

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2013 American Legion baseball schedule

— After starting the weekend with a couple of rough outings Saturday against Palisade, the Steamboat Springs American Legion Post 44 baseball team rebounded Sunday by taking two from visiting Glenwood Springs.

The team is now 9-4 overall, and improved its league record to 2-0 this season.

“We went with three young guys in the first game hoping to save some of our pitching for the league openers,” coach Dave Roy said.

Palisade was able to take advantage of the Steamboat team’s inexperience on the mound with 11 hits in the first game. The offensive effort helped Palisade cruise to a 19-7 victory.

Bright spots for the home team included Matt Hensen’s two-hit game that brought in two runs. But as a team, Steamboat could collect a total of only five hits and seven runs in the game.

Steamboat jumped out to an 11-3 lead against the visitors in Game Two behind four hits from Jesse Pugh, three from Billy Clark and two each from Thomas Kelly and David Brown.

But the offense wasn’t enough to secure the victory. Steamboat struggled to put the game away in the sixth inning and allowed Palisade to score 10 runs in the inning. Steamboat struggled on the mound, walking three runners and hitting another, and in the field, where the team committed three errors that resulted in runs. Palisade rallied to take a 13-11 lead in the inning, and Steamboat was unable to recover.

Roy said the loss was disappointing and could have been devastating headed into the first two league contests of the season Sunday. But the coach said his players responded by putting the game behind them and focusing on improving their own performance.

Steamboat took care of business on the field Sunday by blasting Glenwood Springs, 15-0 and 11-4, in back-to-back games.

Ryan Jeep pitched the shutout in the first game, throwing 45 pitches and facing just 17 Glenwood Springs batters in the game. Jeep helped his own cause at the plate with a two-run homer and an RBI single. Kelly and David Cropper both had two hits, and Clark, Johnny Stensvad and Brown all had doubles in the game.

Steamboat scored seven runs in the first inning of the second game setting the tone for the 11-4 victory.

Stensvad highlighted the first inning with a two-run homer on his first at bat that flew an estimated 420 feet, according to Roy. Stensvad added a three-run homer in the fourth contributing to a solid day at the plate. Kelly had three doubles, Brown had two doubles and a single, and Clark had a double in the game. Brown got the win after five solid innings with Pugh coming in to shut down Glenwood Springs in the final innings.

Steamboat will host Eagle Valley at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Emerald Mountain Field and travel Sunday to Summit County for games.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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