STEAMBOAT SPRINGS -- Just call them the Sleepy Cats.
That's because morning games aren't the first choice of the Northwest Colorado Lynx baseball team. Twice this weekend the Lynx players woke up just in time to pull out one-run wins on the way to the 12-and-younger Triple Crown Division 2 Mountain Magic Tournament championship.
"We've never been a morning team," coach Shane Camilletti said. "We tend to start slow because the boys are still half asleep."
In the quarterfinals Sunday morning in Oak Creek, the Lynx started slow against the Fort Collins River Bandits. They were one out from getting sent back to their beds, trailing 9-8 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Ben Williams then hit a triple and Isiah Forsyth singled in the tying run.
In the seventh the Lynx loaded up the bases and Brentten "Bubba" Ivers hit a sacrifice fly for the win.
In the Lynx's fist game of the tournament they started slow against Arapahoe but came back to win in extra innings, 5-4.
"I don't like to get up and play early," Williams said.
Forsyth agreed with a nod.
Other than those two morning games the Lynx dominated their age group. In five games they outscored their opponents, 84-12, including a 13-0 five-inning win against Broomfield in the semifinals and a 10-0 four-inning win against the Brighton Bulldogs in the finals.
In all six games the Lynx players showed they are beyond their years in more than wanting to sleep in on the weekends.
"This team does things that you won't see from others their age," coach Shane Camilletti said. "We've been together for so long we can work on things other teams don't yet."
One thing they've been working on is what older teams call "small ball."
When other 12-year-olds hear that term they might associate it with a pitcher who is short instead of the base-to-base strategy.
Read what Forsyth's idea of small ball is.
"We've been working on moving runners over in bunting situations," he said. "Other players our age always try to hit it to the fence, but we know that we can place the ball and score runs."
Williams is well versed also.
"In division one, one run is equal to five runs in division two," he said. "So it's important to know how to move runners."
The Lynx play in DI and D2 tournaments and they showed why they are one of the best teams in both divisions this weekend.
In the semifinal and final, the Lynx used ground balls to the right side, sacrifice flies and stolen bases to dominate their opponents. Ivers' sacrifice fly to win in the quarterfinals could have just as easily been a strikeout if he was thinking about a grand slam.
"Situation hitting did it for us today," Camilletti said. "We didn't have any bombs but fundamental hitting."
Williams led the day from the mound for the Lynx. He pitched four scoreless innings in the championship game against a Brighton team that was "averaging 10 or15 or 20 runs a game" said Camilletti.
He also pitched the final four innings against the River Bandits.
"I liked the umpire today," he said with a smile almost as big as the strike zone he liked. "My arm doesn't hurt."
Graig Medvesk pitched the shutout against Broomfield in the semifinals.
Forsyth was given a game ball as the team's best hitter during the tournament.
"We are hitting a lot better as a team," Forsyth said. "This is the best we've played."
Next week is the D1 tournament and the Lynx feel they are waking up at the right time.
"We'll win it if we play like this," Williams said.
Camilletti agreed, but was a bit worried about the schedule.
"We have two 8 a.m. games," he said.