Colten Yoast fires the ball to first base during Moffat County American Legion Post 62 baseball practice Monday. The Bulldogs are competing in the American Legion state tournament, which begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave.

Photo by Ben Bulkeley

Colten Yoast fires the ball to first base during Moffat County American Legion Post 62 baseball practice Monday. The Bulldogs are competing in the American Legion state tournament, which begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave.

Moffat County preparing for state tourney

Opening round baseball action begins Thursday at Craig Middle School

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If Moffat County’s American Legion Post 62 baseball team wants to progress in this week’s state tournament, catcher Brandon Galvan has a checklist the team will need to follow.

“We need to talk to each other more,” he said. “We need to play as hard as we can, and we can’t make stupid mistakes and get down on each other.”

The team will have one benefit for the tournament that starts at 9 a.m. Thursday — home field advantage.

The tournament, which ends Sunday, will be at Craig Middle School, 915 Yampa Ave.

Moffat County will be represented during the tournament, but the eastern bracket is subject to changes, team manager Justin Folley said.

“The whole tournament was turned upside-down,” he said. “Originally, there were going to be five teams from the east playing three teams from the west.

“But, the first and second teams won’t be able to come, so now we’ll have five teams from the west.”

Those teams include Rangely (10-2 record), which claimed the first seed in the district tournament, Eagle Valley/Battle Mountain (10-2), which took second, No. 3 seed Steamboat Springs (7-5), at-large seed Moffat County (1-9) and potentially Middle Park (4-6).

“Rangely is looking good going in,” Folley said of the top seed. “They are on a hot streak, so they have the momentum.

“That’s a team where if you make a mistake, they will capitalize.”

The west has other threats, Folley said.

“Steamboat will be at full strength, and they have Cappy (ace Alan Capistron) back,” he said. “Eagle Valley has a really strong core, and they were missing a couple of their key guys during the district tournament.

“They should be at full strength (this week).”

The east will counter with teams Fleming (12-6), Strasburg (20-4) and Fort Morgan (12-12).

Because the Bulldogs have yet to venture off the Western Slope this season, Folley said he didn’t know much about the eastern competitors.

“Coming from that division, I expect them to be pretty good,” he said. “The teams from the east usually field pretty good squads.”

The Bulldogs are coming off two straight losses Thursday and Friday at the district tournament in Glenwood Springs.

The state tournament brackets will be released later this week.

To extend the season, Folley, like Galvan, said the team needs to have increased intensity.

“I would like to see a commitment,” he said. “When they step out onto the field, I want to see intensity and the will to win.

“I want them to want to play, and to respect the game.”

Folley said he would also like to see the Bulldogs cut down on errors and walks allowed.

“This is a young team,” he said. “They should still come out ready to play.

“This is what we have been building them towards. Now, it’s time to show what they can do.”

Galvan said the Bulldogs will have a test before them, but the team should be ready.

“I know it will be tough,” he said. “But, if we play (in the game) like we do in practice, we’ll be fine.

“I think it will be a fun tournament. We definitely need to come ready to play.”

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