by Kyle Koso
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- In a game where 27 runs are ultimately scored, it seems crazy to linger over opportunities that didn't work out, but you might extend a little grace to the Inland Valley Venom 13u Elite squad.
The Venom hit into four double plays Wednesday against Mojo Baseball, which threatened to send the Venom (CA) toward a disappointing finish to Day 1 of the Triple Crown World Series. But as the Mojo (OK) labored to find the right answer in terms of relief pitching, the Venom put across five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and eked out a 14-13 victory at Simillion Field.
The Venom went 2-0 on the day, posting a 14-6 win over the Dallas Tigers earlier. In Game 2, both teams scored seven runs in the first two innings as fielding miscues and powerful at-bats drove the action.
In the top of the fifth, Stratton White singled with two outs to put Mojo up, 10-9, and three more runs were scored by Mojo in the sixth, all with two outs. In fact, the Venom had a runner picked off for what should have been the third out, but an errant throw led to a run and kept Mojo afloat, with the final two runs also coming across on yet another error.
The Venom could have been sunk emotionally at that point, having already hit into double plays as well in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings. After a flyout to start the sixth, the Venom put together four straight hits and plated the tying run when Eli Guzman was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded -- it was the third HBP for Guzman on the day.
Finally, Bradley Gilbert finished it off -- he swung absolutely as hard as he could and missed, then waited on a pitch and smoked one into the right-center gap for the game-winner.
"I was thinking, all it takes is a good attitude to have a good hit. You have to stay mentally prepared," said Gilbert, who had four singles and a walk, driving in four runs overall. "I got up and thought, let's just end this with a walk-off ... and I did. It was frustrating today, but you could see in the last inning, we got it started."
One example of the Venom's tenacity was Nevin Zerbe, who hit into two double plays and faced a key at-bat in the sixth. After taking some high pitches and looking a bit uncomfortable, he drilled a pitch to centerfield to drive in two critical runs as the Venom rallied.
"I hadn't been doing very well all day, and I was hitting everything on the ground," Zerbe said. "I was going to keep trying, and I wasn't that mad about the double plays. I just forgot about it and knew I'd get a chance later on. This game shows that we won't stop fighting when we are down."
"Nevin has one of the best batting eyes on the team, so when an umpire calls a strike when he thinks it's a ball, it bothers him. For all the players, I tell them you can't mentally check out at that point," said Venom coach Chad Zerbe. "You still have a job to do. I try to keep them all in the game, whether it's an error, a bad pitch ... you have to be engaged. Nevin didn't break down, he knew he had one more strike, and he got a fastball and drove it.
"Bradley will show his emotions, but for the most part, he's a calm, cool and collected kid. He handles pressure very well, and in that situation he knew what he had to do. The first pitch, he came out of his shoes on the swing, and I get that. Then he tightened it up and got a pitch he could handle for the game-winner."
Mason Swogger and Korbin Fickett each had a run, two hits and two RBI for the Venom; Guzman and Dylan Buzard each scored three times. Diesel Toth reached base on three walks and a single. Daxtyn Clark had a bases-loaded triple for Mojo.
by Thomas Hoffman
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. – Trailing twice in a game against BTL Hornets-Porta, Laguna Lightning responded valiantly, claiming its second straight win, 8-6, to open the 2019 13u Triple Crown World Series.
“That was a big win,” said head coach Dave Dopf. “We had to come from behind twice and we did. Our guys were just resilient. I can’t say enough about this team. Every single member of this team is important and it showed today.”
Laguna jumped on the board quickly in the opening frame of the contest. Leadoff hitter Dylan LaMaison climbed aboard with a single and scored two batters later on an error from the third baseman.
BTL responded quickly. Two runs from the home side in an inning highlighted by a solo home run from Dallas Keaton vaulted the Hornets to a 2-1 advantage.
In stepped Chase Sutton and the Lightning offense. With Brady Franzini already on first base, Sutton matched Keaton with a home run of his own, propelling Laguna on top, 3-2.
“I was seeing a lot of fastballs,” said Sutton. “At every point in the ballgame, I had faith that our offense was going to do its job and score runs. I was lucky enough to be a part of that today.”
The Lightning added a fourth run in the third inning and appeared to be on cruise control. In the fourth, however, BTL flipped the script.
As five of the first six batters reached safely, the Hornets managed to plate three runs, stunning Laguna and stealing back the lead, 5-4.
“We’re never going to quit,” said Lightning pitcher Wyatt Nichol. “Most teams in that situation are going to be a little down. Our energy was great all afternoon and I think it fueled us until the end.”
BTL and Laguna traded blows in the fifth inning, keeping the Lightning’s deficit at one. Earning the right to bat in the sixth frame, Dopf and company had one last chance to produce something special.
Back-to-back Hornet errors sparked a little life into the Lightning dugout, and a walk from Franzini had tensions on both sides at an all-time high with Sutton striding to the plate for Laguna.
“Coach told me I was going to get a fastball,” Sutton said. “Even though coach told me, I wasn’t really ready for that first one. When I saw the second one outside, though, I just swung.”
Rocketing his second-pitch fastball to the fence, Sutton unloaded the bases for a three-RBI triple.
“Chase is a very athletic kid,” said Dopf. “Every once in a while he’s capable of going out there and doing something special. He’s only 13 years old but played to his potential today.”
Leguna’s job wasn’t over yet. Despite its two-run advantage, the Lightning still needed to shut down BTL one last time to seal the victory. Taking over pitching duties in the fifth inning, Nicholson trotted back out to the mound in the sixth.
“In a moment like that, you really have to lean on your teammates,” Nicholson explained. “Hearing everyone cheering in the dugouts and the stands, I thought to myself, ‘Ok, I really have to get this done.”
A two-out double would be the only blemish on Nicholson’s final stat line Wednesday afternoon. The right-handed calmly collected the game’s final three outs, handing Laguna the 8-6 win.
“I think we just continued to put pressure on their defense all day,” Dopf said. “Even though it was an error that got us going, it was a hard-hit ball and I think it gave us a little spark. One thing led to another and our boys were able to pull off something tremendous.”
Its two wins leave Laguna atop pool D in the 13u Division. The Lightning will look to continue its winning ways against Rauchis on Thursday before the double-elimination bracket begins on Friday.
“Sometimes you have to be a little lucky to win,” said Nicholson. “We were a little lucky today but I think our energy and team chemistry will keep us going the rest of the way.”
by Kyle Koso
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. -- After tackling two games Wednesday at the Triple Crown World Series, the 13u Bombers Baseball Club was ready to rent out some innertubes and make their way to the Yampa River.
That's as good a place as any to wash off some of the skunky, funky feelings left over from their second win on the day, a 13-12 scramble over the Rawlings Tigers at Vanatta Field. The Bombers (CA) scored 24 runs over the two games but nearly surrendered all of an 11-0 lead against the Tigers (MO), stopping the bleeding just in time as Rawlings scored five times in the top of the sixth inning.
The time limit expired as the Bombers were batting in the bottom of the frame; they looked ready to score again if needed, but everyone was happy to get off the field and not spend too much time agonizing over the details.
"What we touched on was, you're leaving here feeling like you lost the game, but you're still 2-0. You're lucky," said Bombers coach Matt Stykowski, whose team topped Building Champions-Stewart 11-1 earlier. "They'll come back tomorrow a little bit hungrier and focused. You can say it's lucky for us as coaches, because that's something invaluable, where they get fired up without us saying anything."
"You have to remember, you did what was needed to win two games. Now, it's over, flush it, and let's go tubing."
The Bombers scored 10 times in the first inning, getting those runs on six hits, four walks and a hit batter all within the first 12 at-bats. Conversely, the first 12 at-bats for the Tigers resulted in one hit, one walk and four strikeouts, and in the second inning the Tigers went three-up, three-down in four pitches. Given that imbalance, you can see why Bomber fans were looking ahead to the run-rule requirements and maybe hoping for an early arrival at the river.
The Tigers stayed in the fight, however. Asa Martinez doubled in two runs in the fourth, and the team put four more runs across in the fifth. In the sixth, a big two-run double by John Handy made it 13-11, and with two out Luke Allen singled in one more.
Desperate for help from his relieving corps, Stykowski turned to Kaiden Dossa, and he rang up the last batter on a called third strike. Dossa had already helped enormously at the plate, with three hits, two runs and three RBI. He hit a critical two-run single in the fifth, which provided the necessary insurance margin for the Bombers.
"We went up, and we let them come back. We weren't mentally ready for that, and once it came, we were shocked," Dossa said. "It felt great to (do my part), and in some of my at-bats I just tried to hit the ball and not focus on anything else. I feel like, when our whole team does that, we can get a lot of runs and play good baseball. We'll forget about all this and start out fresh the next time."
"Kaiden is what you want as a baseball coach. I don't like to bring kids in without warming up, and they only get eight pitches, but he looked me right in the eye and said, 'I'll stop it,'" Stykowski added. "What else do you want in a 13-year-old. Sometimes we don't give these young men enough credit, and that was very impressive."
The Bombers had eight different players drive in runs. Tyler Buxton drove in two runs, doubled and hit a monster home run to lead off the second inning.
"We had this in the bag and let them come back. I feel like we will be very hungry tomorrow," Buxton said, who as catcher helped guide Dossa through that critical strikeout. "I wanted him to hit his spots, because it was already 1-0 and we were down in the count. I got on the outer half of the plate and hoped he'd hit the spot, which is what he did.
"(Before the home run), he threw a curveball that I really didn't expect. He did the same thing on the third pitch, and I knew it was coming."
Five teams started pool play with 2-0 records; the rest of pool play will take place Thursday, and the top six seeds will get a first-round bye as Friday's bracket play begins.
There’s just a handful of games left to determine the bracket winners at the 2019 Triple Crown World Series in Park City, UT.
The 12u Elite division featured a mild upset, as No. 2 seed Sheets Baseball beat top-seeded Colorado Gold on Wednesday, 14-5. Colorado Gold will play No. 8 MBA Utah Grays on Thursday morning in the loser’s bracket, and the winner of that game will have to beat Sheets Baseball twice in order to win the crown.
In the 12u Platinum bracket, No. 12 Uintah Baseball will face off against No. 14 Texas Edge-Mitcham at 8 a.m. Thursday, with the winner earning a spot in the championship game and needing just one win in two games to claim the crown in the double-elim format. Uintah topped the No. 17 Utah Regulators on Wednesday, 11-5, while the Edge moved past the No. 10 Colorado Warhawks, 6-5. We’ll have to wait and see who comes through the loser’s bracket.
The 12u Gold bracket has Lehi Baseball taking on Viking Select on Thursday morning, with the winner heading to the championship game in one more double-elim finish.
Bracket action has begun at the 2019 TC World Series in Park City, Utah, as the chase begins in earnest to claim the hardware at this 12u championship event.
In the 12u Elite division, eight teams are working their way forward, with the top-seeded Colorado Gold set to meet No. 4 Texas Oilers-FTW Harvard on Wednesday morning. No. 2 Sheets Baseball will face No. 6 Utah Marshalls in the other game on the top half of the bracket.
It’ll be a long haul for any of the four teams out of the loser’s bracket to climb back up, but it’s been done before. Four teams will be left in the mix after Wednesday’s games.
In the Platinum Division (seeds 9-24), four teams are left in the upper half: No. 10 Colorado Warhawks, No. 12 Uintah Baseball, No. 14 Texas Edge-Mitcham and No. 17 Utah Regulators. Nine teams are hoping to make a run in the Gold Division (seeds 25-33).
This marks the 24th year Triple Crown has been playing baseball in Steamboat Springs, which is as trusted and valued a partner as you’ll find when it comes to playing youth sports in a desirous destination.
The World Series is a unique opportunity to play top-notch teams from all around the West and Midwest, with some East Coast action thrown in from time to time. And when you’re away from the fields, there are good times awaiting as well:
River Rafting – With the abundant snowfall and resulting boost to water levels, this is a great year to get on the regional rivers and enjoy that cold mountain splash.
Downtown Steamboat Springs – This little mountain town has everything from big breakfasts to funky lunch spots and crazy diversity come dinnertime. Art galleries, clothing shops and more will keep you engaged as you enjoy a walk around town.
Fish Creek Falls – This gorgeous spot roars in the spring, when ski season snowmelt rushes from Storm Peak into the Yampa River, where water sports enthusiasts test their skills in kayaks, rafts and on standup paddleboards. In summer, the falls is popular with hikers and families.
Zipline – Steamboat Zipline Adventures is hidden away in a valley just minutes from the town of Steamboat Springs. It’s a six-segment zipline adventure with breathtaking views of the mountainous and valley terrain of the Yampa Valley and Flat Top Mountain Range.
Amaze’n Family Fun Park – As a small, privately-owned park, Amaze’n Steamboat Family Fun Park wants to offer the public all the thrills and chills of major parks while also providing a more intimate, close-knit amusement park experience.
Triple Crown has found the mountain escape of Park City, Utah, to be one of the most suitable and satisfying destinations for championship events in the diamond sports.
This year’s baseball World Series event there welcomes the 9u and 12u age groups, set to run July 22-25. While many teams chose this event to conclude their busy summer schedule, there are moments and reason to slip away and enjoy any of these five diversions.
Historic Downtown Park City – Independent boutiques, one-of-a-kind restaurants, restorative spa sessions, maybe a ride on the town lift to play in the mountains … Park City has done it right. Meander around the sidewalks and pay close attention to the amazing art galleries.
Fly Fishing – Both the nearby Provo and Weber Rivers are full of brown and rainbow trout, among other species, making it one of the top fishing spots in the country. If you've always wanted to give fly fishing a try, sign up for a half- or full-day excursion and check out the best fishing holes in the region.
Alpine Mountain Coaster – Utah’s longest Mountain Coaster winds through more than a mile of loops and curves at speeds up to 25 mph. Just like your favorite roller coaster, but with the refreshing mountain scenery of Park City.
Horseback Riding – We all say we’ll do it someday, so make it happen! The horses stabled by Park City guides are kind, responsive, and emotional creatures. Plus, they love to go out on the mountain trails having made the journey countless times.
Kimball Art Center – Get the team together and see how their creative skills can grow. Located just a few blocks off Main Street, the KAC features exhibits by regional and national artists and offers more than 300 classes in painting, drawing, photography, stained glass, pottery and other visual arts