Kevin and Courtney Armitage had zero expectations for their 7-year-old son, Davis, when he entered the local Colorado Rockies Baseball Skills Challenge in June. He won and went on to sectionals in Aspen, and won that, too. And once again, the Eagle family had no expectations when they took Davis to the state competition – and he won.
“We’ve had lots of kids make it to state before but this is the first time a kid from the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District has won state,” said Brad Johnson, a WECMRD program coordinator.
Johnson said the Challenge has been going on longer than a decade.
“We figured a little mountain kid going to Denver for a sports competition didn’t stand a chance,” Kevin said.
Courtney said the whole thing was “really low key” from the beginning, when Davis decided to do the Challenge for his first time.
“There were a lot of kids who were very intense about it,” she said. “Being relaxed seemed to work for Davis.”
The Rockies Baseball Skills Challenge tests throwing, hitting and running. There are four age divisions for boys and girls between ages 6 and 13. Winners advance from their overall score from the three events.
“Davis was best at hitting and running,” Kevin said. “He was sort of middle of the pack in throwing, which tested accuracy as well as distance.”
Kevin played baseball through college and has coached several years since then. He’s coached WECMRD T-ball and coach-pitch teams the last three years.
“Davis likes to go to his 5-year-old brother’s T-ball practice in addition to his coach-pitch practice so he can spend more time hitting,” Kevin said. “Baseball is a big part of our lives. We play with a Nerf ball inside during the winter.”
Davis said his favorite aspect of the game is playing first base.
“I like catching the ball when someone is running at me,” he said.
For winning the Challenge, Davis earned family tickets to the Rockies game that weekend, where he got to tour the locker room and walk on the field. He said walking onto the field and being on the Jumbotron was his favorite part of the experience but his mom had a different story.
“After touring the locker room, he came back and said, ‘They gave me a Sprite for FREE!’” Courtney said. “He was so excited about the free soda.”