Teams assemble for hopes of softball tourney glory | SteamboatToday.com

Teams assemble for hopes of softball tourney glory

Dave Shively

Triple Crown Sports officials say Steamboat Springs and Northwest Colorado should figure out how - and if - they want the company to continue to bring its softball and baseball tournaments to the region each summer.

— Believe it or not, it wasn’t the skiing that brought Lisa Wynn to Steamboat Springs. It was the softball.

Wynn made the trip with her Fort Collins Viperz women’s team for 13 straight summers. Now that Wynn’s a bona fide resident, she opted to join a local team entered in the 14-team women’s lower division at this weekend’s Triple Crown Summer Nationals Mountain Magic Tournament.

“It’s just great softball – when I’m not doing it I’m keeping score,” Wynn said before her 12:40 p.m., Saturday game at the Ski Town Fields. “All my (Ft. Collins) friends are here, and I’m making new friends on this team.

Although it was the Steamboat women’s third game of pool play before today’s double-elimination action, the team was still working out the kinks, adjusting batting orders and scribbling numbers on the backs of disposable tank tops.

The women’s team, sponsored by B&K Distributing, jumped out to an early 3-2 lead in the first inning, getting hits and then a couple of nice defensive plays in the outfield from Tracy Gallagher.

“Our first game we got beat by 20, then it was 10 runs in the second and now we’re ahead – just think if we would have practiced at all as a team,” joked pitcher and former Steamboat Springs High School softball coach Donna Ryan.

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As the only slowpitch softball tournament to come to Steamboat this summer, the women’s team wasn’t the only group of locals that jumped at the chance to field a team. In fact, B&K ended up sponsoring a coed as well as a men’s team for the tourney.

“We’re kind of a mixed bag team,” Paul Knowles said of his local B&K-sponsored team, the Dawgs, who were fielded in the 31-team Men’s E division from an assortment of the city’s Wednesday night men’s A League teams. Knowles estimated that he’s participated for the past 10 years in the tournament that’s been going for the past 22.

“We’re trying to take a selection of the best players, but we still have to let the chemistry settle,” the Dawgs’ Will Wiggins said after his team’s 20-9 pool-play loss to the Denver team, Bad Habits. In a division where home runs automatically end innings, Wiggins said his team would have to learn to start stroking base hits to start winning.

Players on the women’s team, who were also filling the coed team’s bating order, noted the mixed division’s wooden bats and having to adjust to switching softballs for every gender change at bat.

The crew of locals batting in the Men’s B/C division, sponsored by South Routt Contracting, also had a little adjusting to do. Asked to move up to round out what was only a three-team division, SRC had to go against teams like the St. George (Utah) Muzha Fuzzahs, a team that has won eight of the past 12 tournaments they have played in this summer, traveling in a 1993 purple and neon lime Dodge Caravan stretch limousine.

“These guys play about 40 weeks a year,” SRC’s Jayce Peterson said during a Saturday afternoon game against a Longmont team at Howelsen Hill, pointing out how his team also combines players from various city A League teams. “We’re trying – that’s all we can do.”

Single- and double-elimination play continues today with championship game times scheduled for Monday. Visit http://www.triplecrownsports.com for posted game times.

– To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253

or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com