Coming off of a record 21-12 year, the Summit Tiger American Legion B team will close its summer-league season by hosting the six-team Legion B State Tournament. The weekend’s games start Thursday in Frisco and Breckenridge. The final game of the double-elimination tournament is scheduled to be in Frisco on Saturday.
It’s been a strong season for the Tigers with a number of high finishes in regional tournaments, in Colorado and one in Wyoming. Notably, the team finished second in the annual Mert Letofsky Memorial Tournament in Denver.
“This is by far the best record we’ve had in a really long time,” said team manager and self-proclaimed team-mom Dianne Stuhr.
Stuhr and assistant coach Tai Sposato give a lot of the credit to first-year head coach Tim Spring.
“Tim’s given us a fresh voice,” said Sposato. “He’s gotten a lot of guys to buy in.”
Spring was reluctant to take the credit, instead putting it on his players.
“The talent has always been there, we just kind of connected. It’s a combination of a whole lot of things,” he said.
Spring and Sposato also recognize the development of the Summit Extreme youth baseball program as a reason for the team’s success.
Sposato described the junior class now playing for the Legion as a “flagship group” for the program that feeds the Legion team.
Stuhr also said that increased number of games they’ve been able to arrange has made the team better.
“We’ve really grown the program a lot,” she said. Now, the Legion B team plays over 30 games in the summer. “There was one year when we probably played 10,” she said.
The team’s new-found winning culture is a big change from years past.
“We were well under .500,” said Sposato. The Tiger team used to go into some games almost expecting to be 10-runned by some of its opponents, he said. But now, “we go into tournaments expecting to win.”
As for the tournament, “We’ve been playing some great baseball,” Spring said. “We have as good a chance as anybody.”