Ten-and-unders to play Fruita in state semifinals today | SteamboatToday.com

Ten-and-unders to play Fruita in state semifinals today

Luke Graham

— Steamboat Springs 10-and-under baseball coach Tim Bishop always preaches how much his players love the game.

After advancing through the Districts and into a state first-round game with Boulder, Steamboat needed all that love for the game in the final two innings.

Trailing, 9-3, heading into the top of the fifth inning, Steamboat batted around twice and scored 11 runs in the final two innings to move into today’s semifinals with a 14-9 win.

“It’s a show for how much they love the game. They did not quit,” Bishop said. “They knew they had a chance, and they didn’t give up on each other.”

After Steamboat took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, Boulder pushed across seven runs, thanks in part to three Steamboat errors, to take a 9-3 lead.

But after Bishop brought the team together and told them they were markedly better than they were playing, Steamboat broke through.

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In the fifth inning, they scored three runs to close the gap to 9-6.

Then, in the top of the sixth, already having scored two runs to come within one at 9-8, Matthew White singled to tie the game up.

Five runs and three outs later, Steamboat set up a date in the semifinals with Fruita.

“These kids right now have so much confidence,” said Bishop, noting Steamboat allowed only two walks compared to Boulder’s nine. “They competed this well, and this win is a big accomplishment.”

In the game, Koby Bishop pitched four innings, struck out four and gave up eight hits.

Camden Lawhead and Danny LaPointe each finished with three hits apiece. The two also combined for 7 RBIs.

The other Steamboat team to advance to the state competition – a team of 11-year-olds – lost in the first round to Grand Mesa, 19-4.

Steamboat coach Stace Toye said he really couldn’t fault his team’s play, as Steamboat had only two errors and gave up only three free passes.

In the end, Toye said, Grand Mesa was just a really good team.

“They just murdered the ball,” he said.

Steamboat’s not out of the double elimination tournament, however. Today, they play North Boulder – a team Toye said he expects to beat.

“We watched them play, and we can beat them,” said Toye, who will have ace pitcher Matthew Regan throwing today. “I think we will beat them.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com