TELLURIDE – The Telluride Yankees Little League team blasted through their winning-est season ever this summer, tallying up a 10-2 overall record and becoming the first team to win a Little League Minors title in Telluride Little League’s modern history.
The Yankees began the early summer baseball season with a 6-0 record – despite the fact that they spent three weeks training indoors in the early season due to unplayable, snow-covered fields. They surprised their mostly Montrose-based competition (the league consisted of four Montrose teams and one combined Nucla/Naturita team, in addition to Telluride) by coming up with an early-season string of wins, a relatively unheard of feat for a Telluride team, since Telluride has historically struggled to field an entire summer baseball team, much less come up with a winning record.
But the boys on this year’s 9-and-10-year-old Telluride Minors Little League team are no strangers to putting their heads down and fighting through tough competition. Many of the boys were members of last winter’s Colorado State Championship-winning hockey team, and so rolled their athletic endeavors directly into baseball soon after their win of the State Championship hockey trophy at the Pepsi Center in Denver in March.
The boys posted their only regular season loss to the Montrose Orioles team, bouncing back with renewed intensity to such a degree that the team managed to outscore its closest competitors 135 runs to 53, with seven of their ten season games actually cut short by the “mercy” rule, when one team chalks up a more than ten-run lead.
Telluride wound up losing its final game of the season to the league’s second-place team, the Montrose Cardinals, in a close-played pitcher’s duel in early June, but their impressive record throughout the season had already solidified their standing at the top of the league’s charts.
Winning the league title was due in large part to solid fielding and phenomenal pitching, said coach Gary Richard. “Everybody had to contribute by hitting the snot out of the ball,” he said.
The league championship victory was especially sweet for Telluride, in a season politically challenging season. But the kids soldiered on, with three players nominated to play with the All Star team at the Regional Tournament in Grand Junction next month (pitchers Matheau Richard and Andalo Santangelo and shortstop Christopher Bratcher will represent Telluride on the All Star team at the All Star tournament July 5-9).
“The Town Parks and Rec Department proved once again that Telluride has the best organization, umpires, and administrators in the state,” said Coach Richard. “We couldn’t have done it without Will, Kurt, Ryan and the rest of their staff who kept us on the best fields, walking us through the Little League process. With 13 young 9-10 year olds, this Telluride baseball team did the unthinkable: They won the Montrose Little League title by playing hard and acting like gentlemen.”