Steamboat Springs The Moffat County 11- and 12-year-old All-Star Little League team made Steamboat Springs' Emerald Park look like home Tuesday with a 10-3 victory.
The dominant win not only gave the visiting Dawgs a 3-0 record in the District 3 tournament, but also crowned them champions.
The Dawgs head to Colorado Springs on July 21 to face the winner of District 5 at 10 a.m.
Moffat County's Brentten Ivers smashed two home runs beyond the center field fence, and right-handed hurler Ivan Nielsen went 5 1/3 innings to pace the victors.
Wyatt Oberwitte made the most of his first tournament pitching appearance by effectively recording the last five outs.
Coach Steve Ivers credited strong pitching and his blue-collar squad amid a celebratory team afterward.
"I always tell my kids we are blue collar - just go out there and play," Ivers said. "Our pitching was that dominant. In our three victories, we scored 19 runs and only gave up seven."
Nielsen began the scoring with a one-out triple to right field in the first inning, and the younger Ivers connected on a towering two-run home run for an early 3-0 lead.
Steamboat Springs got two runs back in their half of the first, and the rivals were down 3-2.
Brenten Ivers made like dejÃ vu in the top of third inning with a powerful solo shot for a 4-2 advantage.
Steamboat scored one more in the bottom of the third to make it a 4-3 game.
The Dawgs added five more runs in the top of the fourth to effectively blow the game open and take a commanding 9-3 lead.
Timely hitting, a vocal cheering section and a determined Moffat County squad fueled the rally.
With the Steamboat fans sporting rally caps, Steamboat made life interesting by loading the bases with one out.
Oberwitte, 12, calmly struck out the first batter he faced and induced the next to fly out to end any potential threat.
"It's been a big rivalry so it feels pretty good to be on top of that," he said afterward.
Moffat County center fielder Derek Maiolo scored one run in the top of the sixth for the final 10-3 tally.
"This is it guys - anything hit at you, eat it up," coach Ivers said before the bottom of the sixth and final inning.
Oberwitte struck out the first two batters, and Maiolo sealed the deal with a diving catch.
Coach and proud father Larry Maiolo, fresh from being dumped with water bottles, was all smiles.
"They played all-around good ball," Maiolo said.
Coach Ivers had a warning of sorts for opposing coaches.
"We still have not played our best game yet, and I would hate to see the other end of it when we do," he said.
Drew Turner can be reached at 824-7031, ext 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org