Steamboat spoils Bulldog’s run
It only took four balls to end the run for the 9-10 Craig All-Star team.
In the bottom of the sixth inning of the championship game, with the score tied 6-6, Steamboat Springs had the winning run on third base with no outs. That is when coach Shane Camilletti decided to, as a fan in the crowd said, “play baseball.” Camilletti had his pitcher, Austin Sadvar, intentionally walk the next two batters to load the bases making it possible to get the lead runner out with a simple tap on home plate. With the count three balls, two strikes, Sadvar released a pitch that may haunt him until next baseball season. It sailed a little high and Steamboat’s winning run was forced across the plate.
“That was a tough position to put a young guy in,” said Camilletti after the game. “It was our best option and it just didn’t work.”
The tough loss left a majority of the players dejected and teary-eyed, but as coach Camilletti said, they had a lot of reasons to be proud.
“It is hard to have your best game six days in a row,” said the coach, who was possibly the saddest of the group. “The kids played their hearts out, we just ran out of steam the last couple of innings. These kids are only nine and 10, eventually they’re going to make mistakes like the rest of us.”
Craig carried the momentum of its big win against Grand County into the first inning by putting five quick runs on the board. Steamboat followed it up with three of its own in the bottom of the first, but the Bulldogs were feeling confident with the early lead.
Then the Craig offense went into a stalemate, failing to get runs across with the bases loaded twice and only scoring one more run after the first.
Steamboat tied it up in the fifth, which led to the heartbreaking force-in run at home for the rivals from the east.
“We played pretty hard,” said center fielder Mike Gillikin. “I wish it wasn’t over because I just wanted to keep playing baseball.”
Not only was it the dream of the Bulldog All-Stars to win the district championship, but sometime during the week the players had been promised free pizza and swimming if they won. Still, since the team had played so well, they walked away from the field with a date for the pool at 6 p.m. Thursday night to drown their sorrows and wake up today with the rest of summer ahead of them.
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