Thin Air Classic returns next weekend |

Thin Air Classic returns next weekend

Lance Maggart

Summer is in full swing in the high country and with it comes traditional summer activities like river rafting and mountain biking. Throughout the US the warmer months also mean the sharp crack of baseball bats and the smell of fresh cut grass are never very far away.

America’s pastime is a defining feature of summer, with little league games and tournaments filling the calendar for many families from June though August. Next weekend Grand County will once again play host to the Mountain Thin Air Classic baseball tournament.

The Thin Air Classic is an expansive destination baseball tournament for youth baseball teams from throughout Colorado. The tournament is for young players in the 8 to 13-year-old age range.

The Thin Air Classic is put on each year by CABA (Continental Amateur Baseball Association) Colorado and is administered in conjunction with various local baseball clubs and organizations. The Thin Air Classic for 2016 will be held from June 17 to 19 and will take place at multiple baseball fields in Grand County as well as other mountain communities in the Colorado high country including Eagle County, Breckenridge and Silverthorne.

In Grand County CABA Colorado is working with the Grand Slammers Baseball Club to organize the event. Thin Air Classic games will be held at Kaibab Park in Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, the Fraser Sports Complex and Middle Park High School.

A large number of teams have already registered to compete in the tournament from places such as Aurora, Parker and Arvada among many others. Grand County is scheduled to hold games for kids competing in the 9AA, 9AAA, 11AA, 11AAA and 13AA divisions.

This is the third year Grand County will play host to the Thin Air Classic and local organizers hope to have local merchants better prepared for the sudden influx of visitors that will descend upon the valley. Last year over 40 baseball teams from Colorado participated in the Thin Air Classic in Grand County. Typically families travel with youngsters to the tournaments. Most teams have at least 11 players.

Grand Slammers Baseball Club Board Member Robin Conger pointed out how local stores ran out of ice last year while trying to meet the needs of the tournament visitors.

“This is the third year doing the Thin Air up in Grand County,” said Amanda Solomon, Grand Slammers Board Member. “It is amazing to see the number of tourists it brings to the valley. It is good for business. It has been fun to watch the support behind it grow form the ground up.”

The tournament will kick off Friday morning June 17. Each team will play two games on Friday and two games on Saturday with the top teams advancing to play on Sunday. The teams competing in the Thin Air Classic are be looking win and secure a berth in other State and National Tournament scheduled for later this summer.

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