After winning the Colorado state championship, a team comprised of youth baseball players from Dove Creek, Dolores, and Cortez, traveled to Seguin, Texas for Southwest Regional Tournament, which featured some of the top teams in the United States.
Opening the tournament on July 20 against a state championship winning team from New Mexico, Southwest Colorado fell behind early before ultimately losing, 7-3.
According to manager Brett Likes, Southwest Colorado trailed 6-2 heading into the final inning before yielding late runs.
“It was a much closer game than the final score indicated,” Likes wrote in an email to The Journal. “We made a few mistakes on the field that allowed New Mexico to score five runs in the seventh inning.”
Among the bright spots during Southwest Colorado’s loss to New Mexico were seven hits that came against some of the toughest pitching that the players faced all year.
Southwest Colorado left seven runners stranded on base.
After practicing throughout the day on July 21, Southwest Colorado returned to action against Louisiana’s state champions and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Ty Blackmer drove JJ Bruener and Carson Yoder home with a single.
The score remained 2-0 in favor of Southwest Colorado until the seventh inning, but a victory was not to be for Southwest Colorado as Louisiana scored eight runs in the final inning and won the game 8-2. With its loss to Louisiana, Southwest Colorado was eliminated from the tournament, which was eventually won by a team from Texas. Likes expressed satisfaction with his team in spite of the losses and praised his players’ efforts during what was a successful season.
“I am very proud of every player on this team, they played great baseball,” Likes wrote. “We got shut down a little bit in the regional, but I’m still very proud of these young men for their accomplishments and winning a state championship.”
Southwest Colorado’s team was composed of 15-year-old and 16-year-old players, who compete for local high school teams in the area. This season marked the third straight year that Southwest Colorado Little League’s senior team has captured the Colorado State Championship.
Many of the players on this year’s state championship team will return to the team next year in hopes of capturing another state title and potentially moving on from next year’s Regional Tournament.