There is a lot of good in summer baseball, whether it be college showcase events or good old fashioned team-oriented leagues.
Squads all around Colorado have been working to get better since the end of the high school spring season, and while overall improvement is still the main priority, getting a chance to play for summer championships also are quite meaningful.
Locally, there are still plenty of high school teams that take the opportunity to participate in American Legion baseball, and those teams are now staring right in the face of the end of the season this week.
Fairview High and its home field will take center stage starting Wednesday for the Legion A Elite tournament, with the Knights (or the Old School Dirtbags as their summer team is known by) hosting eight of the best teams in the state in a double-elimination bracket that will run through Sunday.
Traditionally strong summer teams like the Greeley GoJo's conglomerate, Gene Taylor's of the Western Slope, and Class 5A state champion Rocky Mountain will join Fairview, Monarch and three other teams for the chance to compete for the Colorado title and a berth in next week's Western Regional to be played at Metro State's Regency Athletic Complex.
The Western Regional winner will then move on to the American Legion World Series scheduled for Aug. 10-15 in Shelby, N.C.
Fairview and Monarch both had qualifying records to be placed in the bracket, but Fairview put in a bid to host and thus received an automatic bid when they were awarded the tournament. The Dirtbags will open the tournament Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. against Windsor. Monarch will play its first two games at Monarch, beginning at noon Wednesday against the Mountain Rangers.
All games on Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday will be played at Fairview.
Several other teams will be playing in three other division-based tournaments running in Denver, Aurora and Eaton this weekend.
That includes Boulder's Legion B team, who figures to be a contender for the state championship after finishing the regular Legion schedule with a 20-0 record. The Panthers will be playing at either Machebeuf or Englewood on Thursday, but all remaining games will be played at Machebeuf the rest of the weekend.
Eaton will host the Legion A High School tournament, which includes contending Skyline, while Eaglecrest will host the Legion C tournament.
At all sites, free admission will be given to American Legion members, all military veterans, seniors aged 60 or older and children 4 and younger.