Young sluggers hope to keep rolling in Triple Crown
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat’s U12 youth baseball team, the Northwest Colorado Storm, came within a blink of winning the Mountain Magic Triple Crown baseball tournament in Steamboat Springs June 27, and now the squad is hoping to parlay that success into big runs in several looming tournaments.
The team, filled with athletes not just from Steamboat but from around the region, competes this weekend at the Triple Crown Colorado state championships in Boulder.
The Northwest Colorado Storm’s big break came in the semifinals of the tourney in Steamboat in late June.
Steamboat actually had three teams qualify from that week’s pool play into Sunday’s playoff bracket, an accomplishment in and of itself, according to Yampa Valley Youth Baseball coordinator Jim Hansen, who also coaches the U12 team.
The U11 and U14 teams both qualified, as well.
“Making the playoffs with three teams is amazing,” he said.
The U11 and U14 teams saw their impressive runs ended there, in the first round, but the U12 team won its first game, then managed a second, even bigger, win, in the semifinals. The squad beat the Diamond Club Knights, out of Wheat Ridge, 10-5, to advance to the championship final, blowing the game open late with six runs in the sixth inning.
“They were the No. 1-ranked team in the state, so that’s a big win for baseball in this town,” Hansen said.
Steamboat went on to lose the championship game to the Longmont Wolves, 8-6, but did enough to qualify for the Triple Crown World Series, set to begin July 20 in Park City, Utah.
“This is only the second time we’ve had a team come in second and qualify for the World Series,” Hansen said. “We are excited about where the organization is going. We’re playing competitive, quality baseball in Steamboat Springs.”
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