Uintah's 12U baseball team may have played the annual Basin Bash tournament on Friday and Saturday with extra motivation as the coaches and players had everything planned out to compete in the Omaha Slumbuster Triple Crown later this week.
The tournament opens in Omaha, Nebraska, on Thursday morning with warmup games. Uintah is slated for play pool plays games followed by bracket play. The tournament wraps up on June 16.
In the past few years, Uintah had sent a team to play in Cooperstown, New York, but Uintah 12U manager Cory Massey felt like Omaha was a better fit for his players.
“We are very excited to go and play in Omaha,” Massey said. “We felt like Omaha offered a little bit more for the boys instead of for the parents. It's a baseball oriented town. The College World Series is happening at the same time.”
Uintah will be playing from teams all over the United States. When Uintah isn't playing they will have an opportunity to attend a College World Series game.
“I think we will do great, we have a good team,” Massey added. “Five of the teams we play in the Wasatch Front that we hang with just went to Cooperstown. Three of the teams made the Sweet 16.”
Massey said his squad has generated a successful season.
“We have a special group,” he said. “Most of them played on the 11U state championship team. It's pretty much the same team. They are getting bigger and mature. The team has an awesome amount of power. They hit the ball hard.”
Another key factor for the 12U team is the depth on the pitching staff.
“We have a lot of pitching,” Massey explained. “You are going to have to have a lot of pitchers to compete. We are not going to get away with having one or two studs out there. It's going to take at least four or five pitchers. You are going to use five pitchers in six games easy.”
Massey's team has played close to 20 games this spring in order to prepare for Omaha. Uintah was the No. 1 seed in a St. George tournament, but didn't get to finish it because of the weather. During Memorial Weekend, Uintah played in a Salt Lake City tournament going 2-0 only to see the rest of the tournament rained out.
“We kind of got short seeded in our last couple of tournaments,” Massey added.
Massey's team was one of 60 squads playing in the Basin Bash tournament. The tournament had games played at the Ashley Valley Baseball Complex along with the Uintah High School baseball and softball fields. Teams were from all over Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. The different divisions were the nine-and-under, 10U, 11U, 12U, 13U and 14U.
14U manager Blaine Sutton had the oldest Uintah team in the tournament from Vernal. The 12U teams played on the softball field, while the 14U teams were on the high school field.
“This is a fun one for us because we don't have to travel, especially this year playing on the high school field,” Sutton explained. “We have been excited about this tournament just because we get to play on the new field.”
The 14U division was one of the smallest ones in the tournament.
“Every other age group seems to get the better teams here,” Sutton said. “We had another good team, but they dropped out on Thursday night at the last minute. We have some good teams, but not the elite teams. The 12U has the elite teams.”
Sutton said Uintah played in the Super League in Salt Lake City where he squad posted a 6-0 record.
“We played well in Salt Lake City,” Sutton said. “This has been a really good group of kids.”
Complete results and more reaction from the Basin Bash will be published next week.