Steamboat falls to Delta |

Steamboat falls to Delta

Melinda Mawdsley

Against great teams, mistakes will prove costly — a lesson the Steamboat Springs baseball team learned in two losses to Delta on Friday.

The Panthers, one of the state’s top teams in 4A and the clear favorite to win the Western Slope League, defeated the Sailors, 11-1 and 12-1, in Friday’s doubleheader in Delta.

Steamboat coach Sean Hicks said the Sailors didn’t play terribly; they just didn’t do what was necessary to beat a team such as Delta.

“When you play a team such as that, every mistake you make is magnified because they will take advantage of it,” he said. “We didn’t play bad, but every mistake we made, they capitalized on it and scored two or three runs on it. I’m not saying we made a lot of mistakes. I was actually pretty pleased with the way we played defense.”

When facing a superior team, it also helps to catch a few breaks on offense or defense and Steamboat couldn’t buy either. Hicks said the Panthers’ fly balls found ways to drop, and on defense, anything hit toward Delta’s shortstop was swallowed alive for an out.

Steamboat didn’t swing the bats particularly well, and each time it had guys on base, it struggled to get them across the plate.

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Judging by the depth of Delta’s team, every Western Slope squad is going to have a difficult time competing with the Panthers this season. Hicks didn’t sugar coat the experience for his players; he let them know before the game it was going to take their best ball game to compete. Steamboat didn’t deliver that in either game Friday.

But the Sailors are eyeing a top-three finish in the league to earn a postseason bid, and with the Panthers expected to take the top spot, two more are up for grabs.

“We’re still early in our season,” Hicks said. “We lost to the number one team in our league. We need to focus on the No. 2 and No. 3 teams in our league. It would have been icing on the cake if we could have beaten Delta in one game.”

Steamboat (5-5 overall, 2-3 in league) returns to the diamond at 3 p.m. Tuesday against Battle Mountain. The game is scheduled to be played in Steamboat, but Hicks said he isn’t sure yet whether the game will be in Steamboat or in Craig.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail

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