The summer has been spent learning with every rep of a ground ball and every can of corn flyout.
For some local American Legion teams, however, the grind has included winning enough games to qualify for the top-tier state tournaments being held this week at different locations along the Front Range.
The top teams from Boulder, Fairview, Monarch, Skyline and Silver Creek all earned bids in the American Legion A Elite and Legion A tournaments, with the winner of the A Elite bracket moving on to the Western Regional at Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder in early August.
Boulder will kick off the A Elite tournament, a double-elimination event hosted by Brighton High School, on Wednesday with a 10 a.m. meeting against Greeley GoJo's. Fairview will follow at 1 p.m. against Rocky Mountain, while Monarch will battle Grand Junction-based Gene Taylor's at 4 p.m.
Boulder, Fairview and Monarch finished 6-7-8 in the A Elite standings, a division made just this year to increase competitiveness in the summer league.
The Legion A tournament begins Thursday at Eaglecrest High in Aurora and will follow the same double-elimination format. Silver Creek, which finished 15-3 in Legion A season play, will play SDBA-18U in the opening game (9 a.m.), followed by Skyline against Littleton at 11:30 a.m.
All other levels of Legion ball finished their tournaments last weekend. Boulder's B team won the state B tournament with an 11-10 victory against Lutheran, this after dropping their opening game. The state C title went to Rock Canyon, while Fort Morgan claimed the D level championship.