Legion team eyes tourney success | SteamboatToday.com

Legion team eyes tourney success

— It hasn't been a strong summer for the American Legion Post 44 baseball team — a local squad composed of high school players — but the team is hoping its last regular season game can propel it to big things in this weekend's season-ending tournament.

The team will play Thursday, Friday and Saturday in a five-team, round-robin tournament in Rifle.

The squad struggled early this season but turned things around in a big way June 27 when it walloped a Vernal squad, 28-14.

Steamboat actually lost the first game of a doubleheader that day, falling narrowly, 8-7, after a strong pitching outing by Zach Cooke.

There was no "almost" about the second game, however, as Steamboat had, by far, its best offensive game of the season.

"The hard work put in at practices over the last six weeks is finally producing results," coach Rusty McRight said. "They are starting to put it all together — offense, base running, defense and our executing — to get desired results, one play at a time."

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The team got four hits, including two home runs from Charlie Fitzhugh, and four more hits from Michael Boyle. Canon Reece, Payton McElhiney, David Brown, Theo Hansen and Alejandro Sandoval each had three hits, and Colter Crawford laid down two key bunts.

A planned doubleheader set for last weekend against Summit was canceled.

Now, the squad heads to Rifle for what it hopes is a strong end to the season. It begins play at 7 p.m. Thursday against Rifle, then plays at 9 a.m. and noon Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

"This will be a good tournament, and we'll see who comes out No. 1," said Dave Roy, helping coach this year's team.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9