Two-year run has been nearly flawless for softball champs
They’re not more talented than their closest competitors, insist members of two-time men’s A League softball champion Ski Country Antiques/Dark Side Pizza, they just want to win more.
The team capped a nearly perfect two-year run with its second straight Summit A League title last weekend. It has lost only three league games in two years, and this year won four of the five local tournaments.
“We’re not the best players,” insisted pitcher Craig Halborg, “we’re the best team. We just prepare better than every other team. We dedicate ourselves to six months (of softball).”
It was sometime in the middle of July, when the team was winning a USSSA tournament in Silverthorne to qualify for the world championships, that the 14 teammates began to realize they were a part of something special.
They carried that feeling throughout the regular season, winning games in every possible way against teams that were built to take them down.
“A lot of teams really built themselves up to challenge us,” said shortstop Tim Cron. “We didn’t roll like last year. The league got a lot better, and we rose to the challenge.”
One of those challengers, Mountain Heart/Blue Ticks, pushed Ski Country to the final out of Saturday’s championship game. Ski Country turned a double play with the bases loaded in the last inning to secure a 14-13 win. The Goat placed third, and Ullr’s was fourth.
“What’s made this team special is the team chemistry, the team play and the never-give-up attitude,” Cron said.
It all started in an ultra-competitive Denver league in the spring. Driving down to the Front Range for games before most Summit County teams gathered for practice gave Ski Country a huge edge.
“It’s the best ball of the year,” Halborg said of the Denver league. “We have a major advantage over the county when we start summer ball.”
In addition to dominating the Summit A League, Ski Country won four of the five summer tournaments it entered. Its only loss was to nemesis The Rude Dawgs of Denver in the Spider Stephens Memorial in Silverthorne. Its wins came at the Mountain Invitational, the Silverthorne USSSA qualifier, the Kingdom Classic and the end-of-season tourney last weekend.
It’s been a wildly successful two-year run that the players are enjoying while it lasts.
“This is a very special thing,” Halborg said. “Everyone is in their prime. We’re not going to be able to keep this up forever. I don’t think this is the type of success you can maintain.”
But the team will try; a three-peat is in sight, and it still hasn’t won the Spider Stephens. In the meantime, it will seek stiffer competition at the statewide and regional levels.
“It’s been my goal for the team to compete out of the county,” Cron said. “We ought to get out there and see how we do.”
More champions crowned
The Breckenridge Barbeque beat the Moose Jaw to win the Men’s B League tournament Saturday. On the women’s side, the Moose Chicks beat the Mint for the title.
The Coed A, B and C titles will be contested this weekend at Blue River Park in Silverthorne.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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