Hayden, Craig claim softball titles


It was a battle between David and Goliath at the Craig parks and recreation girls' softball championship tournament Friday at Loudy Simpson Park.

In the 12 to 16-year-old division, Mountain West Insurance from Hayden overcame the odds to claim the championship.

With four 12-year-olds on the team, Mountain West Insurance was the youngest team in the division. But the team cruised through the two-day double-elimination tournament undefeated.

Mountain West beat Hayden Auto Body in the semifinals 16-9 to advance to the championship game against Yampa Valley Realty, also of Hayden.

Mountain West had already beaten Yampa Valley Realty in tournament play the day before.

Yampa Valley Realty also had to play Hayden Auto Body in the semifinals and beat that team 17-12.

Before the championship, pitcher Shandal Stees said her team was unstoppable because the squad has great team chemistry and the players support each other.

"We are good friends and know how to laugh," Stees said.

Her team was all smiles as she led them to a 14-9 victory. Along with her solid pitching, the team showed lots of patience behind the plate and was rewarded with big hits.

After the game she said the team faltered a bit in the third inning, but "got right back in it in the forth."

A consistent effort from the entire team proved that age or size doesn't matter.

It was 12-year-old outfielder Tawni Brenner's first season, but she said her two older cousins on the team, Shandal and Jade Stees, helped her out.

"I was always nervous, but thanks to (my cousins) practicing with me all the time I'm good now," Brennar said.

In the younger division, ages 8 to 11, Pro Image Photo of Craig beat Mountain West Insurance of Craig in two championship games. Pro Image Photo had lost to Mountain West, 13-6, in the quarterfinals.

They beat The Food Mill from Hayden 8-5 in the semifinals to face the undefeated Mountain West Insurance again.

Because the tournament was double elimination, Pro Image Photo had to beat Mountain West Insurance in back-to-back games for the title.

They won the first game decisively, 15-5.

The second game was closer, but they squeaked past, 14-13, to clench the title.

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