Steamboat celebrates first Moffat County victory in 7 seasons
Steamboat Springs — In manager Dave Roy’s mind, it’s never OK for the Steamboat Springs baseball team to strike out.
On Wednesday night, he made an exception.
A day after beating rival Moffat County, 3-2, Steamboat traded in the gloves, bats and balls for bowling shoes and bowling balls.
Roy emphasized the break from practice was to rest arms, get away from baseball and get away from the confines of practicing in the high school gym. Still, if there was a reason to celebrate, Tuesday’s game provided it.
It was the first time in Roy’s three-year tenure as Sailors manager and the first time in seven seasons Steamboat beat Moffat County.
“It was a sweet win for us, but we don’t want to put too much emphasis on it,” Roy said. “But we’ve been so close to good teams in the league, and we finally got it done. We finally got that hit.”
The hits came off the bats of Taylor Anderson and Alex Wood. Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Sailors had left the tying or go-ahead runs on base in the final two innings of a game three times.
The fifth inning Tuesday changed all of that.
First, Skylar Mitchell doubled. Then Marc Hall walked. Elliot Girard loaded the bases with a single before Anderson drove in Mitchell. Wood then lined a single to right center to bring in Hall and Girard.
“I knew he had to throw some strikes so I was waiting for a fastball,” Wood said of Bulldogs pitcher Bryan Richards, who Wood has played against since they were 8 years old. “It felt good because earlier in the game I was struggling.”
Mitchell pitched a complete game and shut down the Bulldogs using only 79 pitches – 56 for strikes – and got clutch defensive plays when he needed them. Steamboat fielders made only one error in 39 chances, and in the third inning, when it looked like the Bulldogs might start a rally, Mitchell induced a double play.
“It feels great,” said Hall, who ended the third inning by throwing a runner out at second. “I just tried to do the best I could and make sure nobody could get any extra bases. I wanted to make them earn everything.”
Roy said that to be taken seriously in the Western Slope League, Steamboat would have to start beating the top four teams in the league. On Tuesday, the Sailors took a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s important in our season, but I don’t know if it’s a turning point,” Roy said. “These guys worked hard, and now they have a reason to believe in themselves. They proved they can get it done.
“This is a stepping stone and building block.”
Steamboat resumes play Saturday with an 11 a.m. doubleheader against Delta at Woodbury Park in Craig.
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Work to form a new strategic plan for the Steamboat Springs School District will start next week with the first sessions of a listening tour aimed at getting broad community feedback.