For a group of all-stars in the Southwest Colorado Little League’s intermediate division, last weekend presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete for a state championship in front of hometown fans.
Pitted against teams from Denver North Metro Little League and Colorado Springs Little League, the group of 11- to 13-year-old players from Cortez, Dolores, and Dove Creek held their own and finished the tournament with a 1-2 record.
In the opening game on July 13, Southwest Colorado defeated Denver Metro North, 7-5, in a hard-fought game that featured several fine defensive plays by both teams and clutch hits by several local players.
In the second game, on July 14, Southwest Colorado lost to a talented team from Colorado Springs, 17-7. The game was competitive early on as both teams struggled for hits against strong starting pitching.
Entering the top of the third inning with a 1-0 lead, Colorado Springs scored two runs to take a 3-0 lead. Southwest Colorado responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third inning, thanks to RBI hits from Jake Blackmer and Braden Hallman.
Colorado Springs pulled away for the victory, however, leaving Southwest Colorado to fend for its tournament life in the consolation bracket against Denver North Metro.
Playing against Denver North Metro in what would be its final game of the season, the Southwest Colorado all-stars hung tough early, and trailed 5-3 after four innings of play. A few defensive errors and some bad bounces cost the local team over the final three innings however as Denver North Metro pulled away for a 12-3 victory.
Although the Southwest Colorado Little team concluded its season a few wins shy of its state championship goal, manager Tim Passell expressed satisfaction with his players’ performance and praised his team’s improvement over the course of the season.