AZTEC — A select group of 12-year-old boys in Aztec have earned a chance to play in one of the year's biggest baseball tournaments.
The Aztec Rockies won the Western Slope Walkoff Tournament in Grand Junction, Colo., in early June, earning the team a bid in the Triple Crown World Series to be played July 22 through 27 in Park City, Utah.
"We went up there with a select team of Aztec kids. We were disappointed in the bracket only having three teams, but we played two Denver teams and got the win," said head coach of the Aztec Rockies Zane Dickens.
Dickens coaches six of the boys during regular league play in the Pee Wee Reese Division of the Farmington Amateur Baseball Congress. He picked up four more boys from another Aztec team for his traveling tournament team.
"The kids had no chance to practice together. We had maybe one before we went to Grand Junction," Dickens said. "The boys I picked up are real good players. They did what they needed to do in any position I put them in. A lot of them didn't play positions they normally play, but everyone was good with it and did their job."
The team still hasn't had much chance to practice while playing on their own FABC teams, and Dickens hopes the team can come together again for the Park City tournament.
"It is difficult to get together and practice, but as the FABC and Desert Mountain seasons wind down and once we are done with the city tournament and regional tournaments, we should be able to get a practice or two in," he said.
Dickens said his team is driven to perform well, each boy wanting to be the next big star from San Juan County.
"We have a talented group of boys who do very well. Baseball is very thick in this town with the Connie Mack World Series and everything. All the boys want to play Connie Mack and be good enough to get there. There is a lot of talent to pick from with so many good players here," Dickens said. "I don't know if we will win the Triple Crown championship or anything, but we will do our best. I am just curious to see how well we do."
John Livingston covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.