Cutthroats take 2nd in tourney |

Cutthroats take 2nd in tourney

Melinda Mawdsley

With regard to wins and losses, the Colorado Cutthroats hadn’t found much success in Triple Crown tournaments — until last weekend.

Behind a 2-1 record in pool play, the Cutthroats found their winning ways in the Triple Crown Mountain Magic Division 3 tournament.

It was the inaugural year for Division 3, a more recreational division, in Steamboat Springs, and the Cutthroats, an 11-and-younger team of boys and one girl from Hayden and Craig, took second.

The Colorado youth team defeated the Southeast Denver Baseball League All-Stars and an 11-and-younger team from Steamboat. The Cutthroats dropped both games to the Standley Lake Gators, including the championship game.

“I think it’s definitely a big boost for them,” Cutthroats coach Mark Nielsen said. “Last year, we won just one game. We never get to play baseball until May. By the time we do our first tournament, everyone else has 30 to 40 games. But whether we win or lose, we have fun.”

And Nielsen said his players had fun during the weekend.

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The Cutthroats opened the tournament with an 8-7 loss to the Gators. The Craig and Hayden team then went on to defeat The SEDBAL All-Stars, 11-10.

With the score tied 10-10 and Zach Booco on third, Hayden’s Hunter Johnston came to the plate and laid down a sacrifice bunt to drive in the winning run. Ivan Nielsen got the save.

The game between the Cutthroats and Sailors went back and forth before the Cutthroats scored seven unanswered to pull ahead, 12-6, midway through the game. Wyatt Oberwitte led the charge, driving in two.

Steamboat scored but got no closer than 12-7, allowing Colorado to move into the championship game.

Johnston, Nick Williams and Grant Mader are the three Hayden representatives on the Cutthroats.

“We couldn’t do it without those kids from Hayden,” Nielsen said.

The Cutthroats had the most success of any area team in the Triple Crown tournament during the weekend, but they weren’t the only team to win games.

The Tri-County Trojans — composed of players from Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties — won their first game of the summer with an 8-3 win against a team from Chatfield but dropped their other two games in pool play.

Steamboat’s 12-and-younger team went 1-3 during the tournament, with their lone win coming against the Boulder Treehuggers in the opening game of the weekend.

“The kids had a great time,” coach Mike McCannon said. “It’s great to spend a weekend playing four games. We normally don’t get to do that.”

Districts and the state tournaments will be the next big tournaments for the above teams. Steamboat will be hosting the District Tournament for the 11- and 12-year-old teams. Steamboat will have teams in both brackets.

In all, the Division 3 tournament was met with positive responses from the coaches whose teams took part. With limited tournament experience and less exposure to baseball because of long winters and wet springs, Northwest Colorado teams struggle to compete against larger clubs from the Front Range.

The one exception is the Northwest Colorado Lynx, who already have qualified for the Division 2 World Series in Steamboat in August. The Lynx played in a Division 1 tournament in Steamboat during the weekend and went 2-2 in pool play to advance to the semifinals but did not come away with a top-two finish.

The Lynx lost to Longmont twice, and they beat teams from Evergreen and Lakewood.

“We’ve beat Longmont bad before, but they had our number this weekend,” Lynx coach Shane Camilletti said. “We hit the ball hard against them, but it was at somebody every time.”

Craig Daily Press writer David Pressgrove contributed to this story.

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