After his team's second game on Thursday coach Rob Satterwhite gathered the 11-12 Craig Hackers together and asked them to raise their hands if they wanted to get a hit. Every member of the team raised his hand. The gesture served as a morale booster for a team that had only been able to muster two hits in two games in the Triple Crown World Series.
"It is a matter of getting the kids to believe they can do it," Satterwhite said. "We are facing some of the best baseball players in America and our kids have to play near perfect to be competitive."
Thursday was a long day for the Hackers. In the first game at 10 a.m. the Hackers opened up against the Tulsa Oklahoma Hosers.
"They flat out hosed us," said coach Brad Winder. "Those kids were the best of the best."
The Hosers sent the Hackers home early with an 11-0 score.
In the second game at 6p.m. there was much of the same as the Fort Collins Lugnuts won the contest 10-0.
It wasn't a matter of being able to hit the ball, the Hackers only struck out three times in the two games. They just couldn't find any holes in the defense.
In a tournament where teams have played 80 games in the summer and have six coaches for each team the Hackers, who played 16 games together and have three coaches seemed to be a little out of their league. As Winder said these teams are the best of the best.
"We can play with these guys and we've done it before," Satterwhite said. "We just have to believe we can."
The team faired well in two other Triple Crown Tournaments this summer including a tournament in Grand Junction where the Hackers only lost one game.
"We learn a lot from these teams and it only makes us better," said Satterwhite. "When we have a tough game it only makes the kids want to come back and play tougher."
There is a possibility of playing in the B division of Triple Crown. Yet Satterwhite said he would rather have his teams in the top division because in the long run the experience will pay off.
"I don't want them to think, 'we aren't good enough and have to play in the easier division,'" he said. "At the very least this will prepare them for high school. Then they'll be playing schools their size and the tournaments will seem easy."
Winder and Satterwhite credited the success of the high school baseball program partly to playing in tough tournaments like this one.
The Hackers will play today at 2p.m. in Steamboat Springs and results were unavailable by press time.