Area kids to compete in baseball tournament

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Triple Crown is expecting 120 youth teams to arrive later this week for the first baseball tournament of the summer.

But not all the players coming to the Mountain Magic Division 2 Qualifier will be visitors to the Yampa Valley.

Five local teams will be competing in games at Craig, Oak Creek, Hayden and Steamboat Springs. Those teams include the 10-and-under Colorado Cutthroats from Craig, the Northwest Colorado Lynx in the 11-and-under division, the Tri-County Trojans from Craig and the Steamboat Springs Sailors in the 12-and-under division, and a 14-and-under team from Steamboat.

'That's a pretty good showing for this area," Steamboat coach Mike McCannon said. His team will play the first game of the weekend at 8 a.m. Saturday at Klumker Field in Steamboat.

The Trojans are a team of Steamboat, Meeker, Hayden and Craig athletes competing in their third tournament of the summer.

"We're coming along and it usually takes a month for the kids to get playing well," coach Rich Sadvar said. "Triple Crown tournaments provide a good opportunity for a higher level of competition."

The Trojans open up at 10 a.m. Friday at the Ski Town South field in Steamboat.

The 12-and-under team from Steamboat will be made up of a select group of players from the town's Little League. McCannon is optimistic the team will be competitive, but said winning will not be their focus this weekend.

"This can be a great experience for them," McCannon said. "I want my players to have a good time and hopefully win a game or two."

Unlike the Lynx, Trojans, Cutthroats and the Steamboat team playing in the 14-and under division, McCannon's team is not a traveling tournament team.

The Lynx and Cutthroats are similar to the Trojans in that they are made up of players from the Yampa Valley and will enter this weekend's tournament with high expectations.

"Our goal is to win it," Lynx coach Shane Camilletti said. "I think we have a legitimate shot. ... I'll be disappointed if we are not up there."

The team will enter the tournament with an 11-2 record and is coming off a second-place finish in a Division 1 wooden-bat tournament earlier this month in Grand Junction.

The Lynx finished second last year in this tournament. Their first game is at 9 a.m. Friday at Loudy Simpson.

The Cutthroats will be competing in their second tournament of the season and will come right back next weekend for the Division 1 tournament.

"We want to qualify for the World Series this weekend," coach Mark Nielsen said. "To do that we have to finish in the top two."

The Cutthroats open up in Craig with an 11 a.m. game at Woodbury Park.

Last weekend, Triple Crown hosted 107 teams during a girls' fastpitch softball tournament that took place in Steamboat, Hayden, Craig and Oak Creek.

"It was an awesome weekend," said Bill Piltcher, tournament director. "It was a great way to kick off the summer, and everybody had a great time."

The top four squads in divisions with 10 or more teams and the top two squads in divisions of less than 10 teams earned invitations to Triple Crown's national finals, which will be played in Park City, Utah, later this summer.

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