This weekend in the Triple Crown Mountain Magic Division 1 baseball tournament, the Craig 10-U All-Stars and 12-U Hackers performed the equivalent of a Triple-A team playing its Major League club, Western State College challenging CU in football, or a jayvee team facing up against its varsity squad.
The local baseball teams moved up a level to face elite competition in the tournament hosted by Craig and Steamboat Springs.
"Since we are the hosts we usually wait a little longer to reserve a spot in the Division 2 tournaments," said Dave Pike, the president of Craig Youth Baseball. "This year we called to reserve and they said Division 2 was filled up, but that we could move up to Division 1if we wanted."
The Craig teams were aware that they were going to be up against some tough teams.
"Going into the tournament, we didn't have that high of expectations," said coach Shane Camelletti of the 10-U team. "We had only had three practices as a team and this tournament has some high-quality baseball."
Camelletti's squad fared well, winning two of four games, including a 4-3 win over the nationally ranked Fort Collins Sabres and a 13-8 clubbing of the Rocky Mountain Stix from Aurora.
Jason Kettle, 10, of the All-Stars said it was a little bit intimidating during the warm-ups to see teams with matching batting bags and fitted hats with each player's number sewed on but once his Craig team got on the field, "we played good and beat them."
The Hackers struggled to play their best baseball and went 0-4 on the weekend.
"We were missing a couple of key guys," said coach Robby Satterwhite. "The other kids filled in well but with the better competition we needed everything we had."
The games against some of the top teams in Colorado left both coaches with something in which to look forward.
"With a couple more weeks of practice, we are going to be playing a higher quality or baseball," Camelletti said. "We will be a very hard team to beat in the district tournament."
"The World Series in July is what we are getting ready for," said Satterwhite. "That is when the wins really matter."
As Camelletti mentioned, the teams are preparing for the Little League District Tournament, which will be held in Craig beginning July 5. Last year the 11-12 team won the district and the 10-U team was second.