Craig Parks and recreation summer leagues throw 1st pitches of season |

Craig Parks and recreation summer leagues throw 1st pitches of season

Joshua Gordon

Tristen Rohn, 10, throws a pitch Wednesday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Rohn and his team, the Rangely Panthers, won their first game of the year as the Craig Parks and Recreation youth summer leagues got under way.

Taking a break from the pitching mound, Tristen Rohn took his turn batting Wednesday at Loudy-Simpson Park.

Rohn, 10, was in a pitching duel with Rehab Services of Craig's Dylan Chalmers, also 10.

As Rohn stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth and final inning, the score was tied 0-0.

Rohn smacked arguably the hardest-hit ball of the night into shallow right field, sending his teammate home from third base and giving his team, the Rangely Panthers, a 1-0 lead.

"Hitting is my favorite thing to do, and I like to run the bases," Rohn said. "I just wanted to get on base."

Rohn came back to close out the game pitching, earning his team the 1-0 victory.

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The Panthers and Rehab Services of Craig opened the Craig Parks and Recreation youth summer league's season Wednesday.

After three days of cancelled games, the weather permitted 16 youth baseball teams, from ages 8 to 12, to play games at Loudy-Simpson, Woodbury Sports Complex, and in Hayden and Meeker.

For Rohn, getting on the baseball diamond was exactly what he had been waiting for.

"I played baseball last year and I had a whole lot of fun," he said. "I was excited to do it again this year."

The Craig Parks and Recreation's youth summer leagues include T-ball, coach pitch, girls softball and youth baseball.

The baseball teams play Mondays and Wednesdays while T-ball, coach pitch and girls softball play Tuesdays and Thursdays.

All together, 41 teams compete in the four leagues.

Bart Nielson, head coach of the Panthers, said he tries to focus on two main points with his 13 players.

"Sportsmanship is No. 1, and we work on that a lot," he said. "But, we are playing baseball, so we want the kids to always have fun."

Jeff Pleasant and Darin White, coaches for Rehab Services of Craig, said their main focus is fundamentals.

"We help the kids so they don't rush their throws or make bad decisions," White said. "At this age, they like to chase down runners, so we want to work with them on getting the ball back to the pitcher. Overthrows happen often, and that is how a lot of runs are scored at this age."

Pleasant said he was surprised and pleased with the pitching performances Wednesday.

"We teach the kids the proper technique they need to pitch and the right body mechanics," he said. "It is not about speed now, but rather throwing strikes. Sometimes, we only have one kid on a team who can do that, so it was a good pitching game (Wednesday)."

White said it is good for kids who may be interested in playing ball when they are older to start at a young age.

"Baseball is actually a complex sport," he said. "From year to year, we can tell who has played before and who is starting fresh. If the kids wait, they may be behind the other players when they get older."

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Craig Parks and Recreation youth summer league’s schedules:


(Days — location(s) — start time)

• Tuesdays and Thursdays — Woodbury Sports Complex — 5:45 p.m.

Coach pitch

• Tuesdays and Thursdays — Woodbury Sports Complex — 6:45 p.m.

Girls softball — 9- to 11-year-olds

• Tuesdays and Thursdays — Loudy-Simpson Park — 4:45 p.m.

Girls softball — 12- to 18-year-olds

• Tuesdays and Thursdays — Loudy-Simpson Park — 4:45 p.m.

Youth baseball — 8- to 10-year-olds

• Mondays and Wednesdays — Woodbury and Loudy-Simpson — 5:30 p.m.

Youth baseball — 11- and 12-year-olds

• Mondays and Wednesdays — Woodbury Sports Complex — 6 p.m.

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