Local Little Leaguers find success | VailDaily.com

Local Little Leaguers find success

The Three Rivers All Stars display their Colorado State Little Legue Champions banner. The team traveled to New Mexico last week, competing for the Southwest regional title.
Special to the Daily |

Three Rivers All Stars Roster

Joey Beveridge – Eagle

Dillon Flaagan – Eagle

Jake Ticer – Eagle

Garrett Anderson - Eagle

Cole Houston – Glenwood

Rio Kauffman – Glenwood

Kaid Nieslanik – Glenwood

Sam Fitzwilliams – Glenwood

Dylan Albright- Glenwood

Jace Luck– Glenwood

Ash Stolley – Glenwood

Jack Pevny – Aspen

Manager/Head Coach: Scott Fitzwilliams

Assistant Coach: Ted Kauffman

Assistant Coach: Thomas Albright

EAGLE COUNTY — For a number of years, the Three Rivers Little League All Stars have come within spitting distance of a state title.

Two weeks ago they conquered the hump and last week, the team traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to represent Colorado in the Junior League Southwest Regional Championships for 13- to 14-year-olds.

The Three Rivers Little League All Stars draws players from eight teams comprised of kids from Eagle, Glenwood Springs and Aspen. The Three Rivers team had a dominant run in the district tournament in Grand Junction in July and then had the chance to host the state tournament late last month. Three Rivers didn’t drop a game in the double-elimination event on their way to that elusive state championship for 13- to 14-year-olds.

“Especially for a handful of these kids —Sam (Fitzwilliams), Rio (Kauffman), Jake (Ticer), Jack (Pevny) and Joey (Beveridge) — this was their fourth trip to the state tournament,” said Three Rivers head coach Scott Fitzwilliams following the state win. “We’ve taken second twice, so I knew with these kids that they’re going to win one of these. I feel really good (about this championship), but I’m also feeling realistic. We have our work cut out for us in New Mexico, playing teams from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. Those are kids that play baseball 12 months a year. We’re going to go down there and our goal is to compete. But this feels so good.”

Three Rivers squad dropped their first game to New Mexico last Saturday and lost a Sunday contest to East Texas in regional action, but their tournament appearance was ground-breaking nonetheless.

Scrappy squad

Fitzwilliams noted that his mountain players may not get to spend as much time on baseball diamonds as kids in other parts of the country, but said they make up for that shortcoming in shear scrappiness.

“Our kids are skiing when other kids are playing baseball,” said Fitzwilliams. “But I just have a bunch of scrappy players who play great defense.”

Because this is the first time in a long time that a local team made it to the regionals, Fitzwilliams didn’t have a scouting report about the competition. “I know nothing about the other teams other than they must be good,” he said. As for his own squad, Fitzwilliams said he had “11 secret weapons. They play as a team.”

Joey Beveridge, of Eagle, believes the team’s offense is its strong point, and looking at their state tournament stats, he has a point. The team had a .437 batting average, scoring 69 runs through five games including five dingers.

“We are all excited to be out here after a couple of years of coming in second at state,” said Beveridge from the regional tournament.

Before they hit the diamond, Fitzwilliams said he couldn’t offer any predictions about how the team would fair at regionals, but he believed the local kids could hold their own against whoever they came up against.

“We are the Colorado state champions,” said Fitzwilliams. “Our expectation is to compete.”