Summit Storm tests itself at home tournament
SILVERTHORNE – Summit County’s best young baseball players went up against some of the best in the state Friday and Saturday and came away pleased with their 1-2 tournament record.
The Summit Storm, usually a double A team, was playing as a triple A this weekend at the Golden Glove Youth Baseball Fourth of July Tournament in Summit County.
Seventy-five teams came to Summit for the three-day tournament, which ends with the semifinals and finals today. There were 10 divisions in six age groups.
The Storm couldn’t keep pace with SST Force of Denver, losing 10-0 Friday, or the Monument Cannibals, falling 10-1 Saturday, but it did beat Wheat Ridge 11-6 Saturday morning in Frisco.
“We knew we would struggle,” said Storm coach Terry Cochran.
But the team likes to test itself.
“If you play up, that makes your kids realize that they need to raise their level of play. Our philosophy is to play tougher teams so that we can improve the whole program,” Cochran said.
Jordan Sitkowski pitched for the win against Wheat Ridge, when solid defense helped the Storm stay ahead – the team turned two double plays in the game.
The evening game was a different story.
The Cannibals started Pierce Wessel, whose size and pitching speed had the Summit players thinking twice even before they stepped into the batters’ box. It was no different when the Cannibals brought in big left-hander Josh Helweg in the fifth.
“I think there was intimidation with how big their pitchers were,” said Summit catcher Scott Campbell. “All of us were smaller than they were. And also, they were moving the pitches around with a couple of curve balls, and we didn’t really get a good hit off them.”
Campbell did manage a single to lead off the second inning and scored Summit’s only run on Sitkowski’s RBI double. The pair could have combined for another run in the fifth, but a base-running gamble by Campbell backfired. Campbell, who had reached on a walk, was picked off third trying to challenge the catcher.
“I was hoping I would get a big enough lead so they would throw it down to third and I could easily just run home,” Campbell said. “But he chased me down, and I decided to challenge him, and it didn’t work out in my favor.”
Sitkowski followed that with a single that would have scored Campbell. It’s the type of lesson the Storm was in the tournament to learn.
“He got away with that with a lot of weaker teams, and a strong team doesn’t put up with that,” Cochran said. “They get you.”
Elliot Cochran pitched well, keeping Summit in the game through four innings. He had two strikeouts and got a 1-2-3 inning in the third, when the score was 3-1. He struggled in the fourth, surrendering three more runs on a rally that second baseman Alex Gruber killed with a diving catch in shallow right field. Sean Linfield pitched the fifth for Summit. Adem Goodell had a hit for the Storm in its final at-bat.
Today’s semifinals and finals will go on without Summit, which has a 15-9 record. The team plays Vail in Breckenridge on Wednesday then travels to Woodland Park for a double A tournament.
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